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The French Revolution: Tearing up History 2014

  • Ended
  • BBC Four
  • 2014-05-08T00:00:00Z
  • 1 mins
  • 1 min
  • Documentary

A journey through the dramatic and destructive years of the French Revolution, telling its history in a way not seen before - through the extraordinary story of its art. Our guide through this turbulent decade is the constantly surprising Dr Richard Clay, an art historian who has spent his life decoding the symbols of power and authority.

Dr Clay has always been fascinated by vandalism and iconoclasm, and believes much of the untold story of the French Revolution can be discovered through the stories of great moments of destruction. Who were the stone masons in the crowd outside Notre Dame that pulled down the statues of kings? Why do the churches of Paris still carry all the coded signs of anti-Christian state legislation? What does it mean, and who was carrying this out?

Telling the story of the French Revolution - from the Storming of the Bastille to the rise of Napoleon - as the significant modern outbreak of iconoclasm, Clay argues that it reveals the destructive and constructive roles of iconoclasts and how this led directly to the birth of the modern Europe.

1 season

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