Michael Palin heads for rural Pennsylvania and Maine to explore the extraordinary life and work of one of America's most popular and controversial painters, Andrew Wyeth. Fascinated by his iconic painting Christina's World, Palin goes in search of the real life stories that inspired this and Wyeth's other depictions of the American landscape and its hard grafting inhabitants. Tracking down the farmers, friends and family featured in Wyeth's magically real work, Palin builds a picture of an eccentric, enigmatic and driven painter. He also gets a rare interview with Helga, the woman who put Wyeth back in the headlines when the press discovered he had been painting her nude, compulsively but secretly for 15 years.
Curious about a powerful but violent painting that caught his eye, Michael Palin sets off on a quest to discover the astonishing story of the forgotten female artist who painted it over 400 years ago. Travelling to Italy in search of Artemisia Gentileschi's tale, Michael encounters her work in Florence, Rome and Naples. Michael unearths not only her paintings but a complex life which included her rape as a teenager and the ensuing indignity of a full trial, her life as a working mother and her ultimate success against all odds as one of the greatest painters of the Baroque age who transformed the way women were depicted in art and who was sought after in many courts across 17th-century Europe.