In ‘This Is Civilization’, Mathew Collings analyses how our world has been shaped by the cultures of the past and personally selects the greatest artistic moments and monuments from history in his quest. He travels across Europe, Egypt, China and the United States and offers a unique perspective on today’s social and political issues.
Each episode in this four-part series is 49 minutes long and addresses a defining moment in artistic expression and explores how that transition has shaped Western culture and thought.
Ye Gods: The first episode explores how the religious art of the past influences our beliefs about civilization today. Collings starts with the Greeks, who absorbed the awesome power of representations of the gods left by older civilizations, particularly the ancient Egyptians, and the element the Greeks added that still amaze us today: lifelikeness.
Feelings: In this episode Mathew Collings examines the work of two great 18th century artists – David and Goya and looks at how art came to express our human emotions.
Save Our Souls: The third episode in the series explores how our ideas about art, nature and society were influenced by the industrial revolution, focusing on the visionary ideas of the British art critic John Ruskin.
Uncertainty: The final episode of Matthew journey tells the story of modern art and culture, from its beginnings in artists like Picasso, Klee and Mondrian, right up to the present day and it ends with the flourishing contemporary art scene in Beijing.