PBS/BBC Art History Epic ‘CIVILIZATIONS’ To Premiere This April

by Yah Yah

PBS and BBC have announced a new, upcoming series, hosted by historians Simon Schama, Mary Beard and David Olusoga and narrated by Liev Schreiber. CIVILISATIONS is nine-part series filmed in six continents tells the story of art from the dawn of human history to the present day. 

The series looks at how art and creativity have been central to the development of civilizations throughout the world from the earliest known examples of human creativity, and how contemporary art continues to reflect the evolution of civilization today. Historical works and artifacts covered in the series include the 35,000-year-old “Lion Man,” the Venus of Brassempouy, the cave paintings of Monte Castillo, ancient bronze masks of Sanxingdui in China, Mayan hieroglyphs, sculptures and carvings of Calakmul, the Colossi of Memon, the Terracotta Army, Buddhist paintings in the Anjata Caves of India, Istanbul’s Blue Mosque and the Benin Bronzes of Nigeria. Among the contemporary artists featured are Damien Hirst, Anthony Gormley, Kehinde Wiley, El Anatusi, Kara Walker and many others.

CIVILIZATIONS will premiere on PBS on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 8:00 pm, with the next four episodes airing Tuesdays through May 15. Four more episodes will air in June.

The five episodes airing in April and May are:

The Second Moment of Creation (Tuesday, April 17) – Seventy thousand years ago, the first known examples of humans expressing themselves creatively were simple, abstract etchings. Over tens of thousands of years, this impulse evolved into painted and sculpted depictions of the animal world…and eventually of the human form itself.

How Do We Look? (Tuesday, April 24) – From the Terracotta Army of China to the Colossi of Ramses II in Egypt, the human form has been a dominant subject for artists throughout history. Each civilization and era, however, sees the meaning of this art differently.

God and Art (Tuesday, May 1) – Spiritual devotion has inspired some of the most spectacular works of art the world has ever seen, raising challenging questions about the relationship between humans, the divine and the act of creating.

Encounters (Tuesday, May 8) – As the technological advances of the late 15th century sent human beings around the planet further and faster than ever before, distant and disparate cultures began to meet for the first time. As a result, art became the great interface by which civilizations judged and understood each other, and continues to be a potent force in shaping our increasingly globalized world.

Renaissances (Tuesday, May 15) – The burst of artistic advancement known as the Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries was not confined to Italy and Europe; at this same time, the Islamic Empires were experiencing their own explosion of creativity, with artists in the east and west competing with and influencing each other.

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