A Month In Siena By Hisham Matar

Episodes

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0120200713Hisham Matar's account of a trip to the city whose painters so influenced his view of art.

When Hisham Matar was nineteen years old he came across the Sienese School of painting for the first time. In the year in which Matar's life was shattered by the disappearance of his father. the work of the great artists of Siena seemed to offer him a sense of hope. Over the years that followed, his feelings towards these paintings would deepen and, as he says, 'Siena began to occupy the sort of uneasy reverence the devout might feel towards Mecca or Rome or Jerusalem'.

A Month in Siena is the encounter, 25 years later, between the writer and the city he had worshipped from afar. It's a dazzling evocation of an extraordinary place and its effect on the writer's life. It's also an immersion in painting, a consideration of grief and a profoundly moving contemplation of the relationship between art and the human condition.

'Bewitching... Meditating on art, history and the relationship between them, this is both a portrait of a city and an affirmation of life's quiet dignities in the face of loss.' - The Economist, Books of the Year

In episode 1, Hisham Matar at last visits Siena, to immerse himself in the atmosphere of the place, and spend time amongst its great works of art.

Written by Hisham Matar
Read by Khalid Abdalla
Abridged by Jill Waters and Jonquil Panting
Produced by Jill Waters
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4

0220200714The author and his wife visit Siena's town hall to see the famous frescoes.

Hisham Matar's account of a trip to the city whose painters so influenced his view of art.

When Hisham Matar was nineteen years old he came across the Sienese School of painting for the first time. In the year in which Matar's life was shattered by the disappearance of his father. the work of the great artists of Siena seemed to offer him a sense of hope. Over the years that followed, his feelings towards these paintings would deepen and, as he says, 'Siena began to occupy the sort of uneasy reverence the devout might feel towards Mecca or Rome or Jerusalem'.

A Month in Siena is the encounter, 25 years later, between the writer and the city he had worshipped from afar. It's a dazzling evocation of an extraordinary place and its effect on the writer's life. It's also an immersion in painting, a consideration of grief and a profoundly moving contemplation of the relationship between art and the human condition.

'Bewitching... Meditating on art, history and the relationship between them, this is both a portrait of a city and an affirmation of life's quiet dignities in the face of loss.' - The Economist, Books of the Year

In episode 2, HIsham Matar and his wife visit the famous frescoes in the town hall or Palazzo Pubblico of Siena. They particularly want to see the 14th Century frescoes painted by Ambrogio Lorenzetti.

Written by Hisham Matar
Read by Khalid Abdalla
Abridged by Jill Waters and Jonquil Panting
Produced by Jill Waters
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4

0320200715The author explores alone, and though solitary, he feels connected to the city.

Hisham Matar's account of a trip to the city whose painters so influenced his view of art.

When Hisham Matar was nineteen years old he came across the Sienese School of painting for the first time. In the year in which Matar's life was shattered by the disappearance of his father. the work of the great artists of Siena seemed to offer him a sense of hope. Over the years that followed, his feelings towards these paintings would deepen and, as he says, 'Siena began to occupy the sort of uneasy reverence the devout might feel towards Mecca or Rome or Jerusalem'.

A Month in Siena is the encounter, 25 years later, between the writer and the city he had worshipped from afar. It's a dazzling evocation of an extraordinary place and its effect on the writer's life. It's also an immersion in painting, a consideration of grief and a profoundly moving contemplation of the relationship between art and the human condition.

'Bewitching... Meditating on art, history and the relationship between them, this is both a portrait of a city and an affirmation of life's quiet dignities in the face of loss.' - The Economist, Books of the Year

In episode 3, Hisham Matar - now on his own in the city - decides to explore and heads for the city walls.

Written by Hisham Matar
Read by Khalid Abdalla
Abridged by Jill Waters and Jonquil Panting
Produced by Jill Waters
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4

0420200716Exploring further into the city, the author finds out about its plague-ridden past.

Hisham Matar's account of a trip to the city whose painters so influenced his view of art.

When Hisham Matar was nineteen years old he came across the Sienese School of painting for the first time. In the year in which Matar's life was shattered by the disappearance of his father. the work of the great artists of Siena seemed to offer him a sense of hope. Over the years that followed, his feelings towards these paintings would deepen and, as he says, 'Siena began to occupy the sort of uneasy reverence the devout might feel towards Mecca or Rome or Jerusalem'.

A Month in Siena is the encounter, 25 years later, between the writer and the city he had worshipped from afar. It's a dazzling evocation of an extraordinary place and its effect on the writer's life. It's also an immersion in painting, a consideration of grief and a profoundly moving contemplation of the relationship between art and the human condition.

'Bewitching... Meditating on art, history and the relationship between them, this is both a portrait of a city and an affirmation of life's quiet dignities in the face of loss.' - The Economist, Books of the Year

In episode 4, the author goes to see the epic 14th Century altarpiece by Duccio di Buoninsegna - The Maesta.

Written by Hisham Matar
Read by Khalid Abdalla
Abridged by Jill Waters and Jonquil Panting
Produced by Jill Waters
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4

0520200717As the month comes to an end, Matar reflects on how his time there has changed his view.

Hisham Matar's account of a trip to the city whose painters so influenced his view of art.

When Hisham Matar was nineteen years old he came across the Sienese School of painting for the first time. In the year in which Matar's life was shattered by the disappearance of his father. the work of the great artists of Siena seemed to offer him a sense of hope. Over the years that followed, his feelings towards these paintings would deepen and, as he says, 'Siena began to occupy the sort of uneasy reverence the devout might feel towards Mecca or Rome or Jerusalem'.

A Month in Siena is the encounter, 25 years later, between the writer and the city he had worshipped from afar. It's a dazzling evocation of an extraordinary place and its effect on the writer's life. It's also an immersion in painting, a consideration of grief and a profoundly moving contemplation of the relationship between art and the human condition.

'Bewitching... Meditating on art, history and the relationship between them, this is both a portrait of a city and an affirmation of life's quiet dignities in the face of loss.' - The Economist, Books of the Year

In episode 5, the time has come to leave Siena, but it is not long before Hisham Matar is planning his next visit. He reflects on how this trip has changed his view on many things.

Written by Hisham Matar
Read by Khalid Abdalla
Abridged by Jill Waters and Jonquil Panting
Produced by Jill Waters
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4