The Renaissance Unchained

Gods, Myths and Oil Paints

Series 1 - Episode 1 Gods, Myths and Oil Paints



We’ve all got the Renaissance wrong. We’ve had it wrong for centuries, says Waldemar Januszczak, thanks to a “Michelangelo groupie” who wrote “the most influential art book ever written”. Vasari’s Lives of the Artists ignored the bubbling cauldron of Northern creativity that gave us Van Eyck and his ilk, when in fact it was the Flemish artists who re-energised art in the 1400s.

That’s the gist of an engaging, restless, eye-opening series and Januszczak delivers it with his usual vim, bustling around Bruges and flourishing stuffed animals from a suitcase to illustrate his argument, or acting out art history with model soldiers. It’s a learned lecture delivered with all the gravitas of stand-up comedy.


Waldemar Januszczak challenges received wisdom about the cultural movement that began in the Late Medieval period. He begins by examining the notion of the Renaissance having fixed origins in Italy, showcasing the ingenuity in both technique and ideas of great artists including Van Eyck, Memling, Van der Weyden, Cranach, Riemenschneider and Durer.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Waldemar Januszczak
Director Waldemar Januszczak
Executive Producer Peter Grimsdale
Producer Lidia Ciszewska