Wednesday, 16 November 2011
Art of America Part One
1. Looking for Paradise
In the first episode of a series exploring the history of American art, Andrew Graham-Dixon embarks on an epic journey from east to west, following in the footsteps of the pioneers who built the foundations of modern America.
During his journey, he travels to Massachusetts to see the earliest portraits in America depicting the Puritan settlers and visits Pennsylvania to uncover the dark truth behind Benjamin West's most famous painting, the spectacular Treaty of Penn with the Indians. In Philadelphia, he turns the pages of one of the world's most expensive books - John James Audubon's exquisite Birds of America, and explores the wilderness that inspired America's greatest landscape painter, Thomas Cole.
He also uncovers the paradox at the heart of America: that progress and innovation have come at a tragic price, the destruction of the unique cultural heritage of Native Americans by European settlers.
Andrew's journey takes us to the end of the 19th century and the announcement that the era of westward expansion was officially over.
On BBC iPLayer until 5 December 2011: http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b017755r/