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Neil MacGregor - Author

About the Author

Neil MacGregor has been Director of the British Museum since 2002. Before that he was Director of the National Gallery from 1987 to 2002. He was 'Briton of the Year' in 2008.

Featured books by Neil MacGregor

Shakespeare's Restless World An Unexpected History in Twenty Objects

Shakespeare's Restless World An Unexpected History in Twenty Objects

Author: Neil MacGregor Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/03/2014

The Elizabethan age was a tumultuous time, when long-cherished certainties were crumbling and life was exhilaratingly uncertain. Shakespeare's Restless World uncovers the extraordinary stories behind twenty objects from the period to re-create an age at once distant and yet surprisingly familiar. From knife crime to belief in witches, religious battles to the horizons of the New World, Neil MacGregor brings the past to life in a fresh, unexpected portrait of a dangerous and dynamic era.

Other books by Neil MacGregor

Living with the Gods On Beliefs and Peoples

Living with the Gods On Beliefs and Peoples

Author: Neil MacGregor Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/09/2018

A panoramic exploration of peoples, objects and beliefs over 40,000 years from the celebrated author of A History of the World in 100 Objects and Germany, following the new BBC Radio 4 documentary and British Museum exhibition. One of the central facts of human existence is that every society shares a set of beliefs and assumptions - a faith, an ideology, a religion - that goes far beyond the life of the individual. These beliefs are an essential part of a shared identity. They have a unique power to define - and to divide - us, and are a driving force in the politics of much of the world today. Throughout history they have most often been, in the widest sense, religious. Yet this book is not a history of religion, nor an argument in favour of faith. It is about the stories which give shape to our lives, and the different ways in which societies imagine their place in the world. Looking across history and around the globe, it interrogates objects, places and human activities to try to understand what shared beliefs can mean in the public life of a community or a nation, how they shape the relationship between the individual and the state, and how they help give us our sense of who we are. For in deciding how we live with our gods, we also decide how to live with each other. 'The new blockbuster by the museums maestro Neil MacGregor ... The man who chronicles world history through objects is back ... examining a new set of objects to explore the theme of faith in society' Sunday Times

Living With The Gods The BBC Radio 4 series

Living With The Gods The BBC Radio 4 series

Author: Neil MacGregor Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 15/12/2017

A 30-part landmark series for BBC Radio 4, written and presented by Neil MacGregor 'The new blockbuster by the museums maestro Neil MacGregor ... The man who chronicles world history through objects is back ... examining a new set of objects to explore the theme of faith in society' Sunday Times In this major new BBC radio series, Neil MacGregor investigates the role and expression of shared beliefs through time and around the world. Using specially selected objects from the British Museum and beyond, talking to experts from various disciplines and visiting key locations from the river Ganges to Jerusalem, he examines how rituals and systems of belief have shaped our societies. Looking at communities from the distant past to the present day, both in Europe and worldwide, his focus moves from the beginnings of belief and the elemental worship of fire, water and the sun, through festivals, pilgrimages and sacrifices, to power struggles and political battles between faiths and states. Among the objects featured are the Lion Man, a small ivory sculpture which is about 40,000 years old; a 16th century ivory and gold qibla, used to find the direction of Mecca; and the Lampedusa Cross, made from pieces of a refugee boat wrecked off the Italian coast in 2013. Produced by BBC Radio 4 in partnership with the British Museum, this enlightening series explores humanity's enduring need to believe, belong and connect with the cosmos. Duration: 6 hours 50 mins.

Germany Memories of a Nation

Germany Memories of a Nation

Author: Neil MacGregor Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/04/2016

From Neil MacGregor, the author of A History of the World in 100 Objects, this is a view of Germany like no other For the past 140 years, Germany has been the central power in continental Europe. Twenty-five years ago a new German state came into being. How much do we really understand this new Germany, and how do its people now understand themselves? Neil MacGregor argues that uniquely for any European country, no coherent, over-arching narrative of Germany's history can be constructed, for in Germany both geography and history have always been unstable. Its frontiers have constantly floated. Koenigsberg, home to the greatest German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, is now Kaliningrad, Russia; Strasbourg, in whose cathedral Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany's greatest writer, discovered the distinctiveness of his country's art and history, now lies within the borders of France. For most of the five hundred years covered by this book Germany has been composed of many separate political units, each with a distinct history. And any comfortable national story Germans might have told themselves before 1914 was destroyed by the events of the following thirty years. German history may be inherently fragmented, but it contains a large number of widely shared memories, awarenesses and experiences; examining some of these is the purpose of this book. Beginning with the fifteenth-century invention of modern printing by Gutenberg, MacGregor chooses objects and ideas, people and places which still resonate in the new Germany - porcelain from Dresden and rubble from its ruins, Bauhaus design and the German sausage, the crown of Charlemagne and the gates of Buchenwald - to show us something of its collective imagination. There has never been a book about Germany quite like it.

Germany: Memories of a Nation

Germany: Memories of a Nation

Author: Neil MacGregor Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 27/11/2014

A major new series from the makers of A History Of The World In 100 Objects, exploring the fascinating and complex history of Germany from the origins of the Holy Roman Empire right up to the present day. Written and presented by Neil MacGregor, it is produced by BBC Radio 4, in partnership with the British Museum. Whilst Germany's past is too often seen through the prism of the two World Wars, this series investigates a wider 600-year-old history of the nation through its objects. It examines the key moments that have defined Germany's past - its great, world-changing achievements and its devastating tragedies - and it explores the profound influence that Germany's history, culture and inventiveness have had across Europe. The objects featured in the radio series range from large sculptures to small individual artefacts and items that are prosaic, iconic and symbolic. Each has a story to tell, a memory to invoke.

Shakespeare's Restless World An Unexpected History in Twenty Objects

Shakespeare's Restless World An Unexpected History in Twenty Objects

Author: Neil MacGregor Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/03/2014

The Elizabethan age was a tumultuous time, when long-cherished certainties were crumbling and life was exhilaratingly uncertain. Shakespeare's Restless World uncovers the extraordinary stories behind twenty objects from the period to re-create an age at once distant and yet surprisingly familiar. From knife crime to belief in witches, religious battles to the horizons of the New World, Neil MacGregor brings the past to life in a fresh, unexpected portrait of a dangerous and dynamic era.

A History Of The World In 100 Objects

A History Of The World In 100 Objects

Author: Neil MacGregor Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 02/06/2011

In 2010, the BBC and the British Museum embarked on an ambitious project: to tell the story of two million years of human history using one hundred objects selected from the Museum's vast and renowned collection. Presented by the British Museum's Director Neil MacGregor, each episode focuses on a single object - from a Stone Age tool to a solar-powered lamp - and explains its significance in human history. Music, interviews with specialists and quotations from written texts enrich the listener's experience. On each CD, objects from a similar period of history are grouped together to explore a common theme and make connections across the world. Seen in this way, history is a kaleidoscope: shifting, interlinked, constantly surprising and shaping our world in ways that most of us have never imagined. This box set also includes an illustrated booklet with additional background information and photographs, and each CD includes PDF images of the featured objects. 20 CDs. 25 hrs.

Treasures of the National Gallery, London

Treasures of the National Gallery, London

Author: Neil MacGregor, Erika Langmuir Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/09/1996

This Tiny Folio book highlights the works of The National Gallery, London, which has one of the most magnificent--and the most beloved--collections of paintings in the world. Founded in 1824, the National Gallery houses a rich and comprehensive range of European painting from the Middle Ages to the 1920s. Among the works represented in this colorful and compact survey of the Gallery's collection are masterpieces by Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, and Paul Cezanne, as well as some lesser-known delights. Located on Trafalgar Square, in the heart of London, the original Wilkins Building has recently been extended by the handsome new Sainsbury Wing, which contains some of the world's greatest paintings.

A Victim of Anonymity The Master of the Saint Bartholomew Altarpiece

A Victim of Anonymity The Master of the Saint Bartholomew Altarpiece

Author: Neil MacGregor Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/02/1994

Are there miscarriages of justice in art history? Neil MacGregor believes there are. However great an artist, if his name is lost he will not receive a fair verdict from posterity. No exhibition will be devoted to his work; no books will be written about him; he will not even figure in indexes. Among these neglected geniuses is the 15th-century painter known only as the Master of the Saint Bartholomew Altarpiece. He may have been Netherlandish or German; he may or may not have been a monk. On stylistic grounds an oeuvre of half a dozen paintings, three of them large altarpieces, are attributed to him, and from them a vivid, if hypothetical personality can be built up: emotional, compassionate, observant, original, humorous. All that is certain is that he was a great painter whose name, if known, would rank with Botticelli or Holbein. In A Victim of Anonymity, Neil MaGregor corrects the judgement of history by demonstrating the power of this unacknowledged master, making us look closely at works that are all too easily passed over, showing us a peerless artist whose paintings derive their fame from nothing but their own superlative merits.

Shakespeare's Restless World

Shakespeare's Restless World

Author: Neil MacGregor Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

What was life like for Shakespeare's first audiences? In a time of political and religious unrest and economic expansion, how did Elizabethan play-goers make sense of their changing world? What did the plays mean to the public when they were first performed? In this fascinating series, Neil MacGregor attempts to answer these questions by examining 20 objects from that turbulent period. There are grand objects such as a communion chalice, a Venetian goblet and Dr Dee's mirror, as well as everyday items such as a theatregoer's fork and an apprentice's cap. From Drake's circumnavigation medal to an eye relic, he uses these objects to explore the issues that shaped Shakespeare's plays, and considers what they reveal about the concerns and beliefs of Shakespearean England. Speaking to scholars, historians and experts, he discusses the topics raised - everything from exploration and discovery to violence, entertainment and the plague.

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