Civilisations • 2018 • 10 episodes • 9h:43m

A series which explores thousands of years of visual culture.

Second Moment of Creation

A look at the formative role art and imagination have played in the forging of humanity.

2018 • History

How Do We Look

In this episode of Civilisations, Professor Mary Beard explores images of the human body in ancient art, from Mexico and Greece to Egypt and China.

2018 • History

Picturing Paradise

Simon Schama explores one of our deepest artistic urges - the depiction of nature. Simon discovers that landscape painting is seldom a straightforward description of observed nature - rather it is a projection of dreams and idylls, as well as of escapes and refuges from human turmoil, the elusive paradise on earth.

2018 • History

The Eye of Faith

Professor Mary Beard broaches the controversial, sometimes dangerous, topic of religion and art. For millennia, art has inspired religion as much as religion has inspired art.

2018 • History

The Triumph of Art

Think Renaissance and you think of Italy. But in the 15th and 16th centuries, the great Islamic empires experienced their own extraordinary cultural flowering.

2018 • History

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.

2018 • History

Radiance

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...

2018 • History

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 imperial mission and followed the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.

2018 • History

The Vital Spark

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.

2018 • History

Civilisations on your Doorstep

From Roman marbles and Egyptian mummies to Renaissance masterpieces and African sculptures, in this special accompanying programme to Civilisations, Mary Beard goes in search of extraordinary works of art from all over the world that can be seen here in Britain.

2018 • History