This Is Civilization

This Is Civilization

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Description & Features+

A globe-trotting tour of art and culture In This Is Civilization, artist and critic Matthew Collings follows the common threads of inspiration and influence that link diverse art movements over centuries and continents. This four-part series is a contemporary update of the BBC’s landmark 1969 series Civilization, with an expanded focus on non-Western art. Collings traces the currents of emotion, money, and politics that shaped art through the centuries as he walks the halls of London’s Tate Gallery, the temples of ancient Egypt, a munitions-factory-turned-art space in Beijing, and other locales. As Collings shows, intricate patterns on mosques exude the same unifying aesthetic found in Jackson Pollock’s paintings, and kitschy reprints of Mao Zedong echo the devotional zeal of medieval church mosaics. At the same time, cultural forces as diverse as fascism and Christianity leave their own distinctive stamps on the art of their eras. Broadcaster, critic, and author Matthew Collings has written extensively on contemporary art and hosted television programs including This Is Modern Art and Beautiful Equations. A classically trained artist, he collaborates with his wife, Emma Biggs, on abstract paintings. Episode 1 Ye Gods - Freethinking Greeks cast bronze deities that pulsed with human vitality. Christians bound by doctrine painted meek saints and saviors in the flattened style of early church paintings. As the rules changed, civilizations searched for divinity in ornate temples, elaborately patterned mosques, and even today’s modern art galleries. Episode 2 Feelings - It’s a tale of two artists caught in an upheaval that dethroned God and king. Painter Jacques-Louis David spurred the French Revolution with canvases of iconic heroes. Spanish artist Francisco Goya recoiled from the Napoleonic Wars with depictions of monsters thirsty for blood and suffering. Episode 3 Save Our Souls - Nineteenth-century art guru John Ruskin took a stand against dehumanizing urban creep and soulless factories. He found antidotes to the Industrial Revolution in the turbulent landscapes of J.M.W. Turner, shimmering pre-Raphaelite paintings, and Gothic building practices that empowered individual craftsmen. Episode 4 Uncertainty - Twentieth-century advancements shattered cherished traditions and institutions; modern artists reassembled the pieces in jarring new ways. Pablo Picasso turned to cubism to reflect a fragmented reality, abstract painters invented radical new forms, and pop artists embraced commercial culture. Today, China’s frenetic capitalism inspires vibrant digital photography.

Specifications+

Region code
1
Format
DVD
Number of discs
2
Quebec rating
G
Closed captioning
No
BoxedSet
No
Language
English
Silent
No
Cast
N/A
English rating
G
Run time (minutes)
192
Brand
E1 Entertainment
Product Identifiers
Walmart Item #
30416443
UPC
5496188169
SKU
10139489

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