Episode 7 | Baptism | Saint John the Baptist: From Birth to Beheading | National Gallery, London

Jenny, where better to begin this episode, which is thinking about baptism, than Salisbury Cathedral? Particularly Salisbury Cathedral, because it has this stupendous font that was installed recently in 2008. It’s the most stunning visual object. It’s extraordinary, because as you approach the font, the water is so still that it actually looks far more…

Why Socrates Hated Democracy

We are used to thinking very highly of democracy – and by extension, of Ancient Athens, the civilisation that gave rise to it. The Parthenon has become almost a byword for democratic values, which is why so many leaders of democracies like to be photographed there. It’s therefore very striking to discover that one of…

Episode 9 | The Baptist’s Head | Saint John the Baptist: From Birth to Beheading

So Ben, this episode will concentrate specifically on the Baptist’s head and this tradition of representing not the entire narrative of the martyrdom of John the Baptist. So in the earlier tradition, visual traditions, we often have the representation of the imprisonment, the banquet of Herod, the dance of Salome and then finally the beheading….