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Season 1 episodes (9)

1 The Second Moment of Creation
Examine the formative role of art and the creative imagination in the forging of humanity itself. Images and artifacts found in Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia and South America testify to the urge to develop civilizations.
2 How Do We Look?
Explore the many functions of the human image in art. Portraits, paintings and sculptures, life-size and colossal, perform a role - assuaging loss, expressing strength, inspiring fear - and were instrumental in depicting the body today.
3 God and Art
Trace the relationship between religion and art, which has inspired some of the most ingenious, affecting, and breathtaking works of art ever made. Yet beneath great works of religious art often lie conflict, intrigue and divine mysteries.
4 Encounters
See how seafaring advances and a thirst for trade and exploration sent human beings around the planet. Distant and disparate cultures met for the first time, and art became the great interface by which civilizations understood each other.
5 Renaissances
Explore the connections and rivalries between Renaissance Italy and the Islamic empires that experienced their own cultural flowering in the 15th and 16th centuries. Both spheres were open to influences flowing both ways.
6 Paradise on Earth
Explore one of humanity’s deepest artistic urges: the depiction of nature. But landscape painting is seldom a straightforward portrayal of observed nature; it's a projection of dreams, idylls, and refuges - the elusive paradise on earth.
7 Color and Light
Explore the story of light and color in art - both in the search for greater realism and spiritual ecstasy. Journey from Gothic cathedrals and Indian courtly painting to modern art.
8 The Cult of Progress
Examine the rise and fall of “progress” as an ideology, and see how the “civilizing” project that arose from Enlightenment ideas was fraught with contradictions that troubled European artists in different ways.
9 What Is Art Good For?
Explore the fate of art in the machine and profit-driven world: should art create a realm separate from the modern world, or should it plunge headlong into the chaos while transforming the way we see and live in it?

About this show

Survey the history of art, from antiquity to the present, on a global scale. This nine-part series reveals the role art and creative imagination have played in forging humanity, and introduces viewers to works of beauty, ingenuity, and illumination across cultures. Principal contributors Simon Schama, Mary Beard, and David Olusoga travel across the globe, visiting such cultural landmarks as the great mosques of Istanbul, the ancient cities of Mesoamerica, the Buddhist caves of Ajanta in India, the Aztecs' Templo Mayor in modern Mexico City, the funeral site of China's first emperor and many more. Narrated by Liev Schreiber.

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5 reviews
A Google user
June 27, 2018
I'm obsessed with this show/series. The best!
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Adam Chase
April 20, 2019
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