A look at some of history's greatest artists, from the first images painted onto the walls of caves through to Chris Ofili's work with elephant dung.
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# Terrible Tudors, gorgeous Georgians, slimy Stuarts,
# Vile Victorians, Woeful wars,
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# Horrors that defy description Cut-throat Celts, awful Egyptians
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# Gory stories, we do that
# And your host, a talking rat
# The past is no longer a mystery
# Welcome to...
# Horrible Histories. #
Horrible Histories presents Atrocious Artists.
Art has constantly changed throughout history.
In the Middle Ages, it wasn't always the most realistic,
but then 600 years ago in Italy,
everything changed in an explosion of creativity
called the Renaissance.
And it produced some pretty bodacious artists.
Give me the bag.
-Give me the bag, lady, give me the bag.
-VOICE IN THE DISTANCE:
-You leave that old lady alone, punk.
Who said that?
ALL: And we are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Renaissance Artists.
Yes, we are.
Quick, ninja him.
No, we don't actually have any ninja skills.
But we do have some pretty cowabunga artistic skills.
Raphael, paint a fresco so beautiful
it will stop the thief in his tracks.
I'm on it, dude.
Good luck resisting Raphael's captivating use
of all the available colours of his time, including powdered gold.
That's not helping.
Give him a ninja chop.
Nice work. Michelangelo,
quick, paint on the ceiling like you did in the Sistine Chapel.
An artwork of that scale is sure to render him breathless.
Radical idea, dude. I'm a-feeling paint-a-licious.
Oh, no, it's a really high ceiling and I didn't bring my ladder
or my scaffolding.
This thief is one step ahead of us.
Come on, give him a ninja kick.
Oh, I could confuse him with an awesome portrait.
Is the Mona Lisa smiling or sad?
Smiling or sad?
Don't you guys have any ninja weapons?
Good idea, old lady. Quick, Donatello, sculpt a ninja star.
Should be done in about three days, two, if I bodge it.
You guys are useless.
He's getting away!
That bag had all my groceries in it.
I just bought a pizza.
ALL SHOUTING IN ITALIAN
Hang on! Where are all the paintings of rats?
Well, that's it.
I'm going to paint a portrait of the greatest,
most handsomest rat in history.
Now, it needs to be a masterpiece,
so I'd better get some tips from history's greatest artists
and where better to start than the beginning?
I wonder what it would have been like to see a painting
for the very first time.
I'm so glad I saw your profile.
I knew we had to meet.
Wonderful, yeah. Oh, now look.
This, this is fascinating.
Um, you probably haven't seen this but I have.
It's a new type of expression called art.
Before now, everything made by us has a practical use,
so spears were used for hunting.
Oh! Oh, God, so realistic.
Or for, you know, gathering food.
Food, yum, I love food.
Such a foodie.
Um, that's paint made from charcoal and beetle's blood.
I mean, this is art for art's sake.
For the first time, the nascent human is crying out,
-"look at me, I exist, I'm here."
Look, Laura, I'm really sorry but I think this date was a bad idea.
I mean, we're clearly not on the same, um...
Anyway, it's, it's been nice.
Oh, another exuberant work.
I'm going to check out the rest of his stuff.
Oh, no, actually that one's a warning sign.
Beware of the sabre toothed tig...
GROWLING AND SCREAMING
Hello, I'm Swill Gumbitz and welcome to a special
HH News cultural report.
Greek statues - beautiful, elegant, but where do they come from?
I've narrowed it down to Greece,
which is why I've come to ancient Greece itself
to see the statues of the great sculptor, Phidias,
as they were originally intended to be seen.
Their pale white form...
Oi, stop that, you vandal!
Phidias's art can be enjoyed across the world,
but it seems even his work in ancient Greece itself
is not safe from vandals. You, sir, are a hooligan.
-No, I'm not, I'm an Athenian.
-No, I mean...
What, what, what on earth is going on?
This idiot is painting bright colours
all over these beautiful statues.
-It'll take weeks to wash it off.
-What are you doing?
Greek statues are supposed to be painted.
-I don't think they are.
-I don't think they are.
-I don't think they are.
Don't think they are.
They are! I'm an ancient Greek. Trust me, I know.
But the museums of the future are full of lovely plain white ones.
Well, then the paint must have faded or some idiot's washed it off.
A Hoolahan, like you.
-See, he admits it.
Ah. So, if these are meant to be painted, then you're, um...
..Phidias. Can I just say what an honour it is to have met you?
So, there you have it. Painting was in fact all the rage in ancient
Greece, so what better way for me to sign off than having a go myself.
I'm Swill Gumbitz, goodbye.
Can you tell which one's mine?
It's just after dinner in medieval Europe and all over the continent
people are settling down to enjoy a bit of art together.
Is that little one baby Jesus?
Is it baby Jesus?!
Who else are Mary and Joseph going to be carting around?
It doesn't look like a baby though, does it?
Look at the size of its head. It looks like a tiny bloke.
This week, an Italian artist is about to change the way people view
This is Giottobox.
It's coming right out the painting.
It's coming at us.
It's so real.
It's more real than your hair.
Oh, shut up.
The artist Giotto used the new technique of perspective to make
his pictures look 3-D and lifelike.
-Look at that.
-Oh, careful, Steve. Wow.
It's amazing, innit?
-What's going on there?
-It's like 3D, innit?
It's like I'm actually inside the picture.
Which one are you, the donkey?
Giotto was also one of the first artists to make the people in his
paintings look more realistic.
Eh, what's the matter, Mum?
I feel for him.
It's emotional, like.
Are you crying too, Dad?
-No, I've just got something in my eye, all reet?
I'll turn it over, see what's on the other side.
Giotto really did change art forever with his realistic paintings
but as pictures became more real,
artists found they had to be very careful with what they painted.
You know, the rude bits.
Mind you, what was considered rude wasn't necessarily
what you might expect.
Madame Le Brun.
Oh, monsieur, you have come to see my painting. Et voila!
My dear, you seem to have made a mistake.
-What is that there in between your nose and your chin?
It is my mouth.
I'm not stupid.
I mean inside your mouth, those white rectangular things.
Those are my teeth.
SCREAMS IN SHOCK
A person of good breeding does not show her teeth to the world.
The world is not ready for teeth.
Well, why, why not?
Because it is not done.
Teeth are supposed to be covered,
like a table with a cloth or a bottom with knickers.
Stop with the glove thing!
It is me with my little daughter and so I smiled.
No, no, no, no! Smiling in a portrait is not respectable.
Look at this disreputable character.
Would you have him singing to you?
He would sing and then try and eat you.
-Look at this.
-This man is smiling so big his head is falling off.
This lady is showing her teeth and talking to an owl.
Do you talk to owls, Madame?
-Do you want your head to fall off or turn all the way around?
-Do you want to be eaten by a man with a lute?
-Then don't show your teeth.
You look crazy.
I think that you may be wrong.
I think that in future many more people will smile
in their portraits.
I do not agree.
Why ever not, monsieur?
Oh, hello, I am Frida Kahlo, the famous Mexican artist.
I'm just doing a self-portrait.
Many of the world's great painters paint themselves once or twice,
but tell me, how many times did I paint myself?
The answer is C, 55 times.
Oh, there, that one is finished.
Now, what shall I paint next?
Oh, who am I kidding?
Me again. OK.
Hi, I'm Turner prize-winning Chris Ofili and I like to experiment
using a load of different materials for my paintings.
My most famous paintings use real elephant poo.
So, my top tip for you is when your art materials are being delivered...
..careful where you stand.
Oh, that's quite nice.
It's true. Chris Ofili really does paint with poo.
It's plop art!
But I'm after something more traditional.
Maybe I should look at other famous painters.
There was one artist in Georgian times who painted
so many celebrities that he became a celebrity himself.
Yeah, yeah. Oh, yeah.
I love it, baby. It's fantastic.
OK, give me sassy.
That's it, a girl's just walked in and she's got a bigger hat than you.
What is she thinking?
Yeah. Yeah. That's it.
OMG, Joshua Reynolds is like the hottest painter in London right now.
I'm not even looking. Not even looking.
We have queued for hours.
All the Duchesses and generals are having their pictures done by him.
-Hide and seek.
Everyone hide, hide, hide.
Five, six, seven, eight...
Right, you've got to hide.
He's painting everyone.
Even Admiral Nelson's girlfriend, Emma Hamilton.
Admiral Nelson's in the Navy or something.
No, no, it's too masculine.
Way too masculine. I want something innocent, coquettish.
Yeah, different angle. Try the left hand. Yeah, that's it.
That's it, yeah.
Exactly. Canvas adores you, by the way.
Oh, canvas doesn't like you any more.
That's really helpful.
Just having a little trouble with that profile.
I'm so cheeky.
I love you, hate you, love you, hate you!
It's brilliant, it's brilliant, fantastic. Let's take five.
Hola, I am famous artist Pablo Picasso
-and I don't take cash with me anywhere.
-I beg your pardon, Sir?
That is because I pay for everything with Masterpiece.
With Masterpiece, I don't have to pay for anything.
That is because drawings by me are simply priceless.
Hi, I'm Salvador Dali and I don't even need to draw a picture.
My signature is so valuable no-one ever cashes in my checks. Kerching.
Because there are some things in life that being a famous artist
can't buy, but for everything else, there's Masterpiece.
We prefer cash, if it's all the same.
Warning, Masterpiece does not work for mime artists.
Mime is not money. Terms and conditions apply.
Paintings by famous artists like those two can be worth millions,
so there is no surprise that plenty have been stolen throughout history
and in the case of one particular painting,
a lot more than once or twice.
SMASH! CAT YELPS
Oh, I've no idea how that got there.
Hi, I'm Sandy Hole,
I am chief of security for the gallery
and in particular for our star exhibit,
Rembrandt's Jacob de Gheyn III.
-What?! Someone's taken the painting.
Cut! Take two, The Security Guards.
I'm Sandy Hole and I am chief of security for the gallery and in
particular for our star exhibit,
Rembrandt's Jacob de Gheyn,
which was recently found in a lost luggage department in Germany
after it was stolen...
-It's gone again.
-Take three, The Security Guards.
Sandy Hole, chief of security for the gallery.
I am responsible for the security of Rembrandt's Jacob de Gheyn,
which was recently returned to us anonymously after it was stolen
for the second time.
We found it on the back of someone's bike.
Take four, The Security Guards.
Hello, I'm Sandy Hole,
I am chief of security for the gallery
and Rembrandt's Jacob de Gheyn, which I think,
if it's stolen one more time, will make it the most stolen
old master in history. But that' not going to...
Found under a graveyard bench in Streatham.
-I'm not kidding.
Hi, I'm Sandy Hole and if you'd like to steal Rembrandt's Jacob de Gheyn,
just take it. Do what you like.
It's fine. The one on the wall's a fake.
Should have done this years ago.
The real one's in here.
-I don't know why I bother.
Hello, I am famous artist Vincent van Gogh
and here I am painting sunflowers.
Sunflowers. What can I say, I like sunflowers.
Also, I have a lot of yellow paint to use up.
But, hey, don't knock it.
One day in the future, my paintings will be worth millions.
One day. One day.
But, tell me this, how many paintings did I sell in my lifetime?
The answer is B, I sold a couple of paintings.
I don't know where this rumour started
that I only sold one painting.
I sold a few, swapped a few, lent a few, was commissioned for a few.
OK, so it wasn't a lot, but it was a few.
Not my fault if people don't recognise my genius.
Or maybe they just don't like sunflowers.
Van Gogh's sunflower pictures are now worth tens of millions
but this new style of painting, called Impressionism, well,
it wasn't always appreciated during his lifetime.
Not like me. When people see my self portrait,
they'll be throwing money at it.
And probably rotten fruit, too.
And maybe furniture.
I'll be honest, it still needs some work.
The problem is there are so many new and unusual styles of art
that it's hard to know which one to choose.
Hey, imagine if you could get all the famous artists in one place,
so you could compare them. Hey, they could take an art class together.
OK, everyone, for this week's art class,
I asked you to think about light and shade, and remember,
paint what you see.
OK, Pablo Picasso, what's going on here, matey?
Nada. I am painting what I see.
In that case, probably time to visit the opticians.
HE SHOUTS IN SPANISH
That's more like it.
But what did I ask you to paint?
Er, the model.
And what have you actually painted?
You've painted yourself, just like you did last week
and the week before and the week before that.
-I find myself fascinating.
-Well, I'm glad someone does.
Put it this way, you're no oil painting.
Try again. Give me that mirror.
I thought you people wanted to be artists.
I mean, look at this one, it's a nightmare.
Mr Munch, what on earth made you think that...
All right, it's not that bad.
Aha, now, this is real talent.
Rene Magritte, formidable.
Oh, well, it's not quite finished yet.
What's that for? We did fruit last week.
I am interested in what we cannot see.
Here's what I cannot see - you being a decent painter.
I mean, how big do you think apples are, mate?
-It's a cooking apple.
-Dear, oh, dear.
Barbara Hepworth, Babs, you've not even put a canvas on here.
What are you up to?
It's a sculpture. Go on, pat it.
-I'm not going to pat it.
I'm not going to pat it.
Right, sorry to say this, but basically you're all rubbish
and I wouldn't trust you to paint my skirting boards.
Go on, clear off, class dismissed.
Not again. I've told you before, Banksy, not on the walls!
Banksy is a famous graffiti artist but he does it in secret so no-one
knows who he is.
Mind you, Banksy's not nearly as messy as this next famous painter,
whose unusual splatter style caused a bit of a stir.
Oh, Mr Pollock, Jackson Pollock.
Yeah, who wants to know?
Hi, I'm Sherman Nathaniel III. Oh, you have paint on your hands, sure.
I'm your biggest fan and I just love the whole expressionistic
That's what I said.
And anyway, as you know, you're all the rage in town
and I'd just love to buy one of your paintings.
It is just... Well, it's wonderful.
You know, it's breathtaking, it's...
It's not for sale.
-I already sold it.
-Good, good, I am glad about that because...
I actually prefer this one.
Oh, it's just genius.
I just spilt paint on the floor.
Obviously I was joking, because I can spot one of your paintings
a mile off. And, oh, you spilt it on the canvas as well, buddy.
I mean, good luck getting that off.
-That's one of my paintings.
-That's my favourite one.
Yeah. Where's the next one?
Well, where do you think?
-This is the best one yet.
-My neighbour's daughter painted that.
-She should be ashamed.
She's a little terror and she's taken all these paints
and spilt them up there as well.
-You must be livid.
-No, no, cos that's one of my paintings.
-I will buy it for 1 million.
-It's not for sale to you.
In fact, nothing is for sale to you.
-You can get out.
-Ah, I'm sorry.
-Are you kidding?
My shoes are original Jackson Pollocks now.
Thank you, Mr Pollock. I am going to be the toast of the town.
It's raining outside.
Is there any chance I could borrow an umbrella?
Jackson Pollock's paintings were one of the new styles
that emerged during the 20th century,
along with movements like pop art
and surrealism, which involved taking everyday objects
and making them look weird.
Yeah, really weird.
And sometimes the painters were as weird as their paintings.
Like the painter of this one, Salvador Dali.
It's a new term and headteacher Hannah Lawrence is doing her best to
improve school standards, which are currently so low they will have to
improve just to get rock-bottom.
Welcome to Historical Educating.
It's Monday morning and class 7F need a new teacher.
We needed a supply teacher last minute
and Mr Dali's CV came through.
Well, I say CV,
it's actually a box of cauliflowers.
But apparently that's called surrealism.
Greengrocery, that's what I call it.
There really wasn't anyone else.
Good morning, everyone. My name is Dali.
-Morning, Mr Dali.
Now, I like my surroundings to be perfect.
You two, drag in the bath.
Today's lesson is titled The Genius Of Salvador Dali.
-Sorry, sir, that's my phone.
-That is not a phone.
This is a phone.
What's the matter? You pulled a mussel.
Good for you.
I could teach you about art,
but it would be pointless as none of you is a genius like me.
You don't seem like a genius, sir, you seem like a weirdo.
And you, little girl, seem like an ignoramus.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take my anteater for a walk.
Mr Dali has been called in to see the headteacher.
Mr Dali, I'm a little concerned about what you've...
Sorry, what are you wearing?
I was just trying to convey how I exist
at the bottom of a sea of dreams.
Mr Dali, I'm afraid your teaching methods are much too peculiar
for the children here. I'm sorry, but it's time for you to leave.
Tell me, have you seen my anteater?
Coming, Snowball, walkies.
I'm world-famous pop artist Andy Warhol.
Now, I've mixed with some of the greatest artists of the 20th century
and if there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's...
..always wear green pants.
Seriously. It's what I do.
I only wear green pants.
Fabulous. I mean, normally I buy them green,
but this pair I just haven't washed for a while.
Hmm, mouldy pants.
Top tip, Mr Warhol.
OK, it's finally finished, and from cave art to the Renaissance to
surrealism, I've used them all in my masterpiece,
in a new style I call post-rodentism.
Or, as one critic called it, rubbish.
I'm thinking of titling it the Moaning Cheese-a.
The Moaning Cheesea!
Suit yourself. OK, can I start the bidding at 1.5 billion?
No? OK, 1.4 billion.
No? How about a quid?
No, it looks like I've got a long way to go to match
this last incredible painting by Leonardo da Vinci.
It hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris
and it's probably the most famous piece of art of all time
and it's got a pretty mysterious history, too.
Over to you, Mona.
Or is it Lisa?
# The most famousest painting in history
# Ten million see me every year
# Not hanging in the loo but in the Louvre here
# Hello, it's me, from the other side of that you see
# I'm Lisa Gherardini who posed for this
# My husband wants a portrait of his missus
# I modelled at the start then the story gets shady
# Under her is painted another Mona Lady
# Is this picture me? Or someone like me?
# Is this Lisa, me-sa?
# It's a mystery Though my husband was the owner
# Was there another Mona? No-one knows the real history
# Hello, it's me
# I'm the one they call 'The Code' da Vinci
# Not just an artist I'm a procrastinator
# If you don't know what that means then I will tell you later
# Hello, Raphael
# My student's got to copy this and make a sale
# This painting is incredibly profound
# Please stop, those eyes are following me around
# Her enigmatic smile a visual delight
# You think so? No, still not quite right
# The picture's not good enough for someone like me
# For 15 years those hands have been bothering me
# My legacy will last I may be great, but I'm not fast
# And you wonder why I lived in poverty?
# Patience! One day this great work of art
# Will hang in the bedroom of Bonaparte
# Most expensive pic of all you'd better believe it
# People gonna vandalise forge and steal it
# If I wanted it back what must I bid?
# I'm said to be worth one-and-a-half billion quid! #
# Then I was stolen cos someone liked me
# That was when I gained notoriety
# Peaceful life ain't being attacked by red paint
# Now bulletproof glass protects me. #
Is that little one baby Jesus?
Is it baby Jesus?!
Who else are Mary and Joseph
going to be carting around?
HE SPEAKS GIBBERISH
# The past is no longer a mystery
# Hope you enjoyed Horrible Histories. #
A look at some of history's greatest artists, from the first images painted onto the walls of caves through to Chris Ofili's work with elephant poo. We'll discover the most stolen painting in history, how Picasso and Dali found innovative ways of paying for things without using money, the horror of painting people smiling, and see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Renaissance Artists help a lady in distress. Sort of.