Sunday, 12 November 2017

TV: Bettany Hughes' Venus Uncovered

Professor Bettany Hughes is on BBC Four at 9pm this Wednesday with a new documentary called Venus Uncovered: Ancient Goddess of Love.

I'm really looking forward to watching this. However, if you get the channel BBC World News, you can watch the programme earlier than Wednesday. In fact, according to the BBC World New website, it is on tonight.

The description of Venus Uncovered on the BBC Four website says:
In 1914, the suffragette Mary Richardson attacked the Rokeby Venus at the National Gallery in London. But why did this painting fire such outrage? Professor Bettany Hughes embarks on a voyage of discovery to reveal the truth behind the Venus depicted in the painting, proving that this mythological figure is so much more than just an excuse for sensual nudity and chocolate-box romance. Because Venus Uncovered is the remarkable story of one of antiquity's most potent forces. And more than that - hers is the story of human desire, and how desire transforms who we are and how we behave.

Charting Venus's origins in powerful ancient deities, Bettany demonstrates that Venus is far more complex than first meets the eye. Beginning in Cyprus, the goddess's mythical birthplace, Bettany decodes Venus's relationship to the Greek goddess Aphrodite, and, in turn, Aphrodite's mixed-up origins both as a Cypriot spirit of fertility and procreation - but also, as a descendant of the prehistoric war goddesses of the Near and Middle East, Ishtar, Inanna and Astarte. We start to see the Venus is about desire of all kinds - malign as well as benign. Hughes meets world experts who reveal the mysterious and obscure ways this ancient goddess was imagined and worshipped (including as a bearded, gender-fluid woman and even as a giant, sinister, volcanic rock), and visits the sites where the real women and men of the Bronze Age adored her as 'greater than a god' - a creature who gave all and took all away. 
The photo at the top shows the Rokeby Venus, which is in the National Gallery, London

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