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Every Picture Tells a Story

What did Gainsborough intend for the conspicuous void in Mr and Mrs Andrews? Why did Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa capture the world's imagination? How did Manet shock French society with his Le dejeuner sur l'herbe? Every Picture Tells a Story is a documentary series presented by art critic Waldemar Januszczak, looking at the secrets behind eight masterpieces: Mr and Mrs Andrews by Thomas Gainsborough, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp by Rembrandt, The Tempest by Giorgione, The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, Boy Bitten by a Lizard by Caravaggio, Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, Le dejeuner sur l'herbe by Edouard Manet, and The Arnolfini Marriage by Jan van Eyck.

Episode 1 - Mr and Mrs Andrews by Thomas Gainsborough
Why didn't the artist finish this masterpiece of 18th-century British portraiture? And why was the painting never seen outside the subjects' family for more than 150 years?

Episode 2 - The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp by Rembrandt
The subjects of this gruesome painting - both the surgeon and the cadaver - prove just as fascinating as the Dutch master's use of symbolism.

Episode 3 - The Tempest by Giorgione
Decoding this tension-packed painting requires searching beyond the artist's contemporaries and exploring little-known tales from Greek mythology.

Episode 4 - The Birth of Venus by Botticelli
The ravishing goddess emerging from the sea turns out to be far more than the Renaissance's most famous sex symbol.

Episode 5 - Boy Bitten by a Lizard by Caravaggio
As the only great artist to commit murder, Caravaggio knew a little about the impetuosity of youth, and he portrays his hard-won wisdom on canvas.

Episode 6 - Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
More than a masterpiece, the lady with the enigmatic smile turned into a pop-culture icon after a heist captured the world's attention.

Episode 7 - Le dejeuner sur l'herbe by Edouard Manet
Luncheon on the Grass created a scandal when Manet showed it in 1863. The story behind the painting proves even more scandalous.

Episode 8 - The Arnolfini Marriage by Jan van Eyck
A simple wedding portrait? The artistic testimony to a disputed marriage? A religious allegory? A bold new interpretation answers this painting's many mysteries.


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Simon Schama's Power of Art
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