Art on the BBC: Michelangelo: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Art on the BBC: Michelangelo: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Series 1



Michelangelo is an undisputed colossus of the Italian Renaissance, as a sculptor, painter and, in his later years, architect. But as well as his artistic triumphs, his contradictions are equally well documented; his arrogance, his violent feuds with other artists, his appalling personal hygiene…

Art historian Sona Datta walks us through his life and work as seen on television over the past 60 years. There’s no shortage of hyperbole as an array of po-faced gentlemen try to explain his genius to a television audience – some efforts more successful than others – and plenty of florid historic dramatisations. Modern experts put these into context, and happily explode some myths.


Michelangelo was not merely a giant of the Renaissance. He was also one of the era's most controversial personalities. Art historian Sona Datta explores six decades of BBC archive to discover how TV has influenced our understanding of him. Sona reveals how TV has tried to reconcile Michelangelo's art with his difficult personality, bringing to life the story of a man who rose from humble beginnings to favoured artist of the rich and powerful.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Sona Datta
Director David Starkey
Executive Producer Emma Parkins
Executive Producer Ed Stobart