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.
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
Begins by looking at the story of Franz Honiok, a 43-year-old farmer who is often considered the first victim of the Second World War, before going on to show that when Germany invaded Poland in August 1939, no-one was ready for war.
This episode raises questions about the purpose of the pyramids, challenging the story traditional Egyptology tells. See rare footage of six distinct pyramid sites near the Great Pyramid, with evidence of superior technology and sophisticated knowledge of science and the cosmos.
Alastair unpicks the reasons behind the dazzling revolution that gave birth to classical Greek art, asking how the Greeks got so good so quickly. He travels to the beautiful Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, and to the island of Mozia to see the astonishing charioteer found there in 1979, and marvels at the athletic bodies of the warriors dragged from the seabed - the Riace Bronzes. It was a creative explosion that covered architecture, sculpting in marble, casting in bronze, even painting on vases. Perhaps the most powerful factor was also its greatest legacy - a fascination with the naked human body.
An animated data-driven documentary about war and peace, The Fallen of World War II looks at the human cost of the second World War and sizes up the numbers to other wars in history, including trends in recent conflicts. Visit fallen.io for the interactive version and more information.
1942. After blocking the Germans right outside of Moscow, Stalin now faces Hitler's second assault. The world's fate will be decided in Stalingrad. Like in Leningrad, men, women and children, plunged into hell, are sacrificed. Will Stalin become Master of the World?