Skip to content

Andrew Graham Dixon: Making art history sexy again

November 17, 2009

SUNDAY TELEGRAPH and BBC art critic Andrew Graham Dixon is the doyen of arts broadcasters in Britain. Forget yer blokish, yet stealth-high brow Lawson, forget yer self regarding highbrow Sewell, forget even (stifle a gasp) yer populist, knowledgeable and wonderful Kermode (see side bar) – AGD is the guv’nor when it comes to accessible high brow arts programming.
His own CV says more than any crass repackaging that I could do here. It’s an astoundingly ambitious body of work.
His current show The Art of Eternity, ‘unravelling the mysteries of the art of the pre-perspective era’, currently showing on BBC4, is a thoroughly engrossing examination of the role of religion in the development of art from Byzantium to the Renaissance. iPlayer the mutha here.
His genius, and it is really is worth such high praise, is in presenting the difficult historiography of modern art historianship in an accessible way. What shines through is a deep knowledge and love of art nurtured during his postgraduate studies in the Courthauld Institute in the early 1980s. C
He has an enthusiastic onscreen presence and a pleasantly plummy public school way which still fits the role of the modern on-screen intellectual.
But, beyond such simplistic Wolfy Smith-style class politics from me, he succeeds in portraying art history as an essential, interesting, vital and invigorating subject. You will never once think, ‘Meh, well it’s… just OK.’ He makes great art interesting and brilliantly sets it in its historical context.
And, big claim alert, he is exactly the kind of exemplifier we need to use to justify the licence fee in the not-too-distant future debates we will be having with the free marketeers who want to break-up the Beeb.
Every single penny we have paid him was worth it. There, argue that Daily Mail.
Listen to the opening address of his landmark three part  series The Art of Spain below and I dare you not to be enthralled and begging to watch every minute of a work which moves from the Moors to Goya through Picasso, Dali and Miro to modern architecture.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 17, 2009 3:43 am

    If you ain't been there already, Paddy, I highly recommend a booky wook I've just finished: Picasso's War: The Destruction of Guernica and the Masterpiece That Changed the WorldThere's one for 2.35 quid at Amazon

  2. November 17, 2009 9:23 am

    Ta la, I'm on it now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s



Arts, Health and Wellbeing in the Community

Culture, Space, Technology: A Platial Journal

A 'Platial' perspective on daily life

Record Shop Shots

Looking for a vibe on a cheap fix

Boston College Subpoena News

The Belfast Project, Boston College and a Sealed Subpoena

Bella Caledonia

independence - self-determination - autonomy

Enda Guinan | Social

Sensible Social Media

David Hewson

Telling tales from around the world since 1995

two step

two of us in step, most of the time

Voice of the Belly

It's just a blog, not a tablet of stone

Little Sheffield Guitar Studio

Professional Guitar Tuition in the heart of Meersbrook, Sheffield

Tales from inside the age of digital news

An ever-changing journey through digital news media

W[r]ite Noise

Belfast-based arts and culture musings

Shakespeare Couldn't Email

And by and by clean starved for a look...

Irish Election Literature

... what you maybe meant to keep...

The Broken Elbow

A View of the World from New York and Belfast (Public PGP Key: 210D6F47)

%d bloggers like this: