Starts like a house afire, and draws the viewer into excellent film looks at segments of the art world. A broadcaster and abstractionist, Matthew Collings looks at civilization through the art world, aesthetics, and history. It's a bit of an update from 1969's "Civilization" in 13 episodes. This 2007 set is four, and the title is actually "THIS IS CIVILISATION" using an `S' in place of a `Z' on the film opening title segments. Correct spelling was used on the box and discs. The odd spelling mimes like a quirk that the narrator gets into in other ways on more than one occasion.
Overall it's an instructive trek, with the narrator's opinion of how history has proved to tie together civilization and visual art forms. It converges into at least 11 countries and art from Egyptian to today's popular digital images. Collings tries to show the influence of his four chosen topics, one each episode. His ideas are not always mainstream.
There is nudity, primarily in the form of fine art sculpture, paintings and photo images.
SUBTITLES FOR ALL EPISODES
~~1 YE GODS
A look at art and religion through history beginning with Greek gods, then backing up to Egyptian gods. Back to a Parthenon look prior to the Isenheim Alterpiece; Christian God art. Beliefs depicted in images. Roman gods shown in art fell with the Empire due to Christianity spreading & its art replacing pagan god sculpture. View catacomb paintings followed by Constantine's Roman-Christian influence. Geometric patterns-not images, abstract art, represent Islamic belief.
Two revolutionary artists--David & Goya and how they portray political uprising. A charge of brushes, not swords. 18th Century questions of gods and if they are needed. Feeling emotion through 2 French & Spanish artists. First a fast trip through the Renaissance renewed look to enlightenment, faith to reason, heightened feelings through art. Depth into David's "Death of Murat" painting, then into the dark images of Goya's negative world.
~~3 SAVE OUR SOULS
What are we? 19th century London Royal Academy look at industrial revolution and society's change. A Victorian fighting for understanding in art, through eyes of John Ruskin, or how much power does art have in soul saving? In this quest you visit Turner landscapes and Gothic structure (Venice) influences. Money culture replaced gods, Turner's mists intensified inner visions. Venice Gothic provides "Inspired wonkiness" (narrator's words.)
20th Century & Modern. Is it advancement? Pablo Picasso--Abstracts--Pop Art--Digital Photography--A long way from Egypt/Greek beginnings for this series. Collings begins to delve more into philosophy than a true look at art and the artist's intents.
Art lovers will also like Art of the Western World .