Part 1 of the series Judgement Day. Tim Marlow, leading art historian and writer, explores the relationship between art and the afterlife, from the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead to Stanley Spencer’s vision of heaven as a small English town.
The first episode, Judgment, focuses on the moment of judgement after death, tracing its origins in ancient Egypt and going on to explore Buddhist art as well as works by Michelangelo and the contemporary British artist Mark Wallinger.
The promise of heaven and the threat of hell have, for some societies, been a carrot-and-stick device to aid the maintenance of the status quo. Throughout the series, Tim asks whether artistic depictions of the afterlife are the expression of deep spirituality, or the product of society’s need to police individual behaviour. Above all, the series provides a new fresh look at some of art’s greatest works.