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.
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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
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
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
Stonehenge is an icon of prehistoric Britain, an enigma that has seduced archaeologists and tourists for centuries. Why is it here? What is its significance? And which forces inspired its creators? For the last four years, an international team has surveyed and mapped every monument, both visible and invisible, across 10 square kilometres of the sacred landscape to create a complete digital picture of Stonehenge and the surrounding area through time. Known monuments have yielded more data than ever before, revealing hidden structures within; and new finds are revolutionising the history of Stonehenge.
The movies have taught us that the west was won by rugged individuals with a gun on one hip and a gal on the other. But those Americans, who settled the west, those icons of freedom and independence, lived at the mercy of the railroad tycoons.
Mankind is a building species. Inspired by the divine we create monuments to its power (Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid). New challenges create new sciences and when the Romans mixed volcanic ash with water they created a new super-material: concrete.
North Korea is like no other tyranny on earth. It is Orwell's 1984 made reality. The regime controls the flow of information to its citizens, pouring relentless propaganda through omnipresent loud speakers. Free speech is an illusion: one word out of line and the gulag awaits. State spies are everywhere, ready to punish disloyalty and the slightest sign of discontent.
1916, the Great War, far away from the trenches, in the sand of the Middle East, war has a very different face. With a handful of intrepid men, Thomas Edward Lawrence leads the revolt of the Arabs alongside Sharif Hussein, against the Ottoman Empire.
The Taino people of the Caribbean were the first people of the Americas to greet Christopher Columbus. But, as Jago reveals, they had a multicultural society complete with drug-infused rituals, strange skulls and amazing navigation. In deep caverns and turquoise seas, Jago uncovers their hidden history.