Moving Pictures

Episodes

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What kind of headache do you get when you send one hundred priceless paintings off on a world tour? Max Cotton reveals the story of Dulwich Picture Gallery, Britain's oldest public art gallery, which closed down last Christmas for a nine million pound facelift. Rather than allow its collection to gather dust, the pictures were sent abroad to earn their living.

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In 1939, to keep the nation's pictures safe from German bombs, The National Gallery evacuated the entire collection from it's home in Travalgar Square to a number of large houses in Wales, and then to the Manod Slate Quarry near Blaenau Ffestiniog. Emrys Evans recalls seeing the strange shaped lorries lumbering up the valley to their secret destination, and current gallery staff ponder on how they would react to the threat of war today.

A Flower Painting by Rachel Ruysch20161003

A Flower Painting by Rachel Ruysch20161003

A three-part series for BBC Radio 4 offering the chance to take a long, slow look at great artworks, photographed in incredible detail.

What's hiding in the undergrowth of Rachel Ruysch's bold and beautiful flower painting? Follow the link to explore the picture and you'll be able to zoom in and see the tiniest details as you listen. This is a world where buds hiss like snakes, poppies twirl and tiny insects devour - a vibrant, fecund jungle, full of uncanny life.

Cathy FitzGerald hears how this great Dutch artist was influenced by her unusual childhood as the daughter of Frederik Ruysch, maker of one of the world's great curiosity cabinets. Frederik Ruysch's weird tableaux - created from human skeletons and embalmed bodies, insects and plants - were hugely popular in 17th century Amsterdam and his young daughter Rachel was almost certainly involved in their creation. Is this what brings a touch of strangeness to her brilliantly observed vases and bouquets?

Cathy talks to art-experts, garden historians and artists and asks why this brilliant painter - one of the most sought-after of her age - is so little known today.

Image: Roses, Convolvulus, Poppies, and Other Flowers in an urn on a Stone Ledge by Rachel Ruysch, c.1680s, from the collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Photograph by Google Arts and Culture.

Presenter and Producer: Cathy FitzGerald

A White Stiletto production for BBC Radio 4.

A Flower Painting by Rachel Ruysch20161003

A three-part series for BBC Radio 4 offering the chance to take a long, slow look at great artworks, photographed in incredible detail.

What's hiding in the undergrowth of Rachel Ruysch's bold and beautiful flower painting? Follow the link to explore the picture and you'll be able to zoom in and see the tiniest details as you listen. This is a world where buds hiss like snakes, poppies twirl and tiny insects devour - a vibrant, fecund jungle, full of uncanny life.

Cathy FitzGerald hears how this great Dutch artist was influenced by her unusual childhood as the daughter of Frederik Ruysch, maker of one of the world's great curiosity cabinets. Frederik Ruysch's weird tableaux - created from human skeletons and embalmed bodies, insects and plants - were hugely popular in 17th century Amsterdam and his young daughter Rachel was almost certainly involved in their creation. Is this what brings a touch of strangeness to her brilliantly observed vases and bouquets?

Cathy talks to art-experts, garden historians and artists and asks why this brilliant painter - one of the most sought-after of her age - is so little known today.

Image: Roses, Convolvulus, Poppies, and Other Flowers in an urn on a Stone Ledge by Rachel Ruysch, c.1680s, from the collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Photograph by Google Arts and Culture.

Presenter and Producer: Cathy FitzGerald

A White Stiletto production for BBC Radio 4.

Scenes In And Around Kyoto20161010

A three-part series for BBC Radio 4 offering listeners the chance to take a long, slow look at great artworks, photographed at high-resolution.

What would it be like to walk the streets of 17th century Kyoto? In this week's episode, Cathy FitzGerald explores a sumptuous pair of Japanese screens that depict the historic city in incredible detail. Follow the link to zoom in and examine the artwork as you listen.

Temples, shrines, castles, shops and homes - the image is crammed with tiny scenes. A man in a barber's shop examines his new hair cut in a mirror. People peer down into the street to watch a parade pass. Weary pilgrims sit on a verandah, sharing fruit. Men and women of every age and every social class appear, more than 1,800 in all.

Cathy FitzGerald hears how these glittering screens - a genre known as 'rakuchĂ» rakugai-zu' or 'scenes in and around Kyoto' - were made and what they tell us about everyday life in the 17th century Japanese city.

Presenter and Producer: Cathy FitzGerald

A White Stiletto production for BBC Radio 4

Image: Sights in and around Kyoto, Artist Unknown, Mid Genna era (1615-24). From the collection of the Shimane Museum, courtesy of the Bureau of Public Enterprise, Shimane Prefectural Government. Photograph by Google Arts and Culture.

The Harvesters By Pieter Bruegel The Elder20160926

A three-part series offering the chance to take a long, slow look at great artworks, photographed in incredible detail.

In this first episode, immerse yourself in Pieter Bruegel the Elder's masterpiece The Harvesters, in the company of Cathy FitzGerald and experts from the artist's Flemish homeland. Follow the link to explore a high-resolution image of the painting and you'll be able to zoom in to see the tiniest details as you listen - even examine Bruegel's brushstrokes.

It's a hot, dry day in 16th century Flanders. Labourers grab a break from bringing in the harvest, they eat lunch and snooze under a tree. Behind them, the peaceful countryside is full of life. Scrumpers steal from an orchard, villagers enjoy harvest games on the green, monks escape the heat with a wild-swim.

Cathy FitzGerald takes a walk through the landscape and then hears how the masterpiece may have brightened up a wealthy Antwerp merchant's dinner parties.

Image: The Harvesters by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1565, from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photographed by Google Arts and Culture.

Presenter and producer: Cathy FitzGerald

Original music: Joe Acheson and Tomas Dvorak

A White Stiletto production for BBC Radio 4.