Ming: 50 Years that Changed China is the new British Museum exhibition which is open till 5 January 2015. It covers 1400-1450 AD which is close to the beginning of the Ming Dynasty period, and is regarded as one of the Golden Ages of Chinese history. The exhibition opens with a short film which gives a brief overview of the historical events during (and immediately before this period) and puts it into context in terms of how it lines up with British history.
Travels with Vasari is a two-part documentary we've had on the PVR for the last 4 years or thereabouts. It's presented by Andrew Graham Dixon and is about Vasari, and Renaissance Italy. Vasari was an artist in Italy in the 16th Century but nowadays he is much more famous for the book he wrote called "Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects". Dixon explained that this is the first work of art criticism and art history as we know those subjects today, and that Vasari can be credited with inventing them.
Last Saturday was clearly the best day to hold a study day - there were three different ones on that date that J & I between us found interesting. The one I chose to go to was organised by the Tyndale Society who are a group whose primary interest is in the life and works of William Tyndale (who translated the Bible into English in the early 16th Century). I'm not a member of the Society myself, I just spotted a poster advertising the study day a few weeks ago & signed up for it.