Tag: Civilisations

Civilisations episode 9

Civilisations episode 9 – The Vital Spark

In Civilisations episode 9, Simon Schama begins Civilisations with this premise: that it is in art - the play of the creative imagination - that humanity expresses its most essential self: the power to break the tyranny of the humdrum, the grind of everyday. Art, then, makes life worth living; it is the great window ...

Civilisations episode 8

Civilisations episode 8 – The Cult of Progress

If David Olusoga’s first film in Civilisations is about the art that followed and reflected early encounters between different cultures, his second explores the artistic reaction to imperialism in the 19th century. David shows the growing ambivalence with which artists reacted to the idea of progress – both intellectual and scientific - that underpinned the ...

Civilisations episode 7

Civilisations episode 7 – Radiance

In Civilisations episode 7, Simon Schama starts his meditation on colour and civilisation with the great Gothic cathedrals of Amiens and Chartres. He then moves to 16th century Venice where masterpieces such as Giovanni Bellini’s San Zaccaria altarpiece and Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne contested the assumption that drawing would always be superior to colouring. As ...

Civilisations episode 6

Civilisations episode 6 – First Contact

In the 15th and 16th centuries distant and disparate cultures met, often for the first time. These encounters provoked wonder, awe, bafflement and fear. And, as historian of empire David Olusoga shows, art was always on the frontline. Each cultural contact at this time left a mark on both sides: the magnificent Benin bronzes record ...

Civilisations episode 5

Civilisations episode 5 – The Triumph of Art

Think Renaissance and you think Italy. But in the 15th and 16th centuries the great Islamic empires experienced their own extraordinary cultural flowering. The two phenomena did not unfold in separate artistic universes; they were acutely conscious of, and in competition with, each other and mutually open to influences flowing both ways.   The fifth ...

Civilisations episode 2

Civilisations episode 2 – How Do We Look?

In Civilisations episode 2, Professor Mary Beard explores images of the human body in ancient art, from Mexico and Greece to Egypt and China. Mary seeks answers to fundamental questions at the heart of ideas about civilisations. Why have human beings always made art about themselves? What were these images for? And in what ways ...

Civilisations episode 1

Civilisations episode 1 – The Second Moment of Creation

Civilisations episode 1 - The Second Moment of Creation: the first film by Simon Schama looks at the formative role art and the creative imagination have played in the forging of humanity itself. The Second Moment of Creation The film opens with Simon's passionate endorsement of the creative spirit in humanity and the way in ...