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
China's last empire, the Qing, lasted from 1644 to 1912. It began in violence and war as the Manchus swept down from the north, but invaders became emperors, with three generations of one family ruling the country. Among them, Michael Wood argues, was China's greatest emperor - Kangxi.
On November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy was shot twice as he rode in an open-top limousine through Dallas, Texas. The assassination sent shockwaves across the world and begged the question: How could a United States president be murdered so easily? Now, thanks to new research, firsthand accounts, and unpublished CIA files, we uncover ten crucial errors—from ignored threats to intelligence breakdowns to major security failings—any one of which, if avoided, could have saved JFK's life…and changed history.
The story of the sudden Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the early days of the war in the Pacific. Back in Europe, this episode looks at the bombing offensive against Germany and at the appalling crime of the Holocaust.