This Is Civilization
Mathew Collings makes a personal selection of the greatest artistic moments and monuments from history to examine how they have shaped our world. He embarks on an epic journey, to stunning locations across Europe, Egypt, China and the United States, to explore the changing ways in which cultures of the past have shaped our civilization. In doing so, he offers a unique perspective on today's social and political issues.
Each episode in this four-part series addresses a watershed in artistic expression and explores how that transition has shaped Western culture and thought. 4-part series, 49 minutes each.
Ye Gods. Whatever our religious beliefs, the feelings we have about civilisation today would be unimaginable without the religious art of the past. Collings starts in ancient Greece. The Greeks absorbed the awesome power of representations of the gods left by older civilisations, particularly the ancient Egyptians, but it's the element the Greeks added that still fascinates us today: lifelikeness, the human body, the feeling that this is art that celebrates what it is to be human.
Feelings. This episode looks at how art came to express our human emotions and the full range of what it is to be human. Mathew Collings examines the work of two great 18th century artists - David and Goya - in a journey that takes him from the glories of Renaissance Italy to the turbulent, violent Paris of the French Revolution.
Save Our Souls. The third programme in the series explores the impact of the industrial revolution on our ideas about art, nature and society, focusing on the visionary ideas of the British art critic John Ruskin. Collings follows in Ruskin's footsteps to locations including Venice, the Alps and, closer to home, Britain's stunning Lake District.
Uncertainty. The final episode of Matthew Collings' epic sweep through the history of art and civilization tells the story of modern art and culture, from its beginnings in artists like Picasso, Klee and Mondrian, right up to the present day. It's a journey which ends with the booming contemporary art scene in Beijing. But what does it tell us about the future of civilization?
Also, You're an anti-christ pretending to be a historian or an art whatever. You're basically a thieve and an unspeakable biased presenter.
This is one of the most inaccurate, and insincere documentaries I have ever heard or watched in my entire life. I hope I don't ever watch such as this again. Peter didn't event Christianity, this is foolishness. Paul wasn't a fanatic, he was a lawyer who spoke the truth about his experience (he's unlike you who will see the truth and still tell lies). Whatever or whoever you claim to be, I don't really care ( i don't remember the name of fools) but find a better job to support your family and stop making your personal beliefs as a documentary for wise people to watch. learn to speak the truth and stop indoctrinating people with your assumptions.
This is sanitized art history — if it can even be called that. I gave up the moment he said the early Kouri had gotten it wrong and the Classical style had gotten it right. Rubbish. Style is just that — style — an artist's vision, then a school's, then a city's, then a civilization's and so on such that the greater the distance from it the farther away from the vision and the style and the more opinion intrudes and prevents us from appreciating it the way the artist did. How can one be specialized in art history? Really now? Ask your kids coming home with their latest drawing from kindergarten. Are they specialized in line, in color, in form? No kids just paint, or draw or sculpt and play with their Play-do the way all geniuses do — non-specialized, non-rationalized, non-sanitized. Picasso said it best: "I paint with my stomach!" If you truly have the gift to appreciate art, forget what you know and how you came to know it. Then look at the line, the color and the form and rediscover what it means to truly know once again!
looks like the europeans are desprate for relevance now. what a pompous people!
talk about beating a dead horse, how come you just keep repeating the same thing over and over? How about some facts, how about some quoates? Repeating it over and over makes you sound uneducated. What "books" do you suggest and are not those books just somebody elses opionion/ art is opionion is it not?
Full of biased and one sided "opinions" which are stated as facts in this show! Typical!
I stopped when he says Greeks were the ones that this Greeks that, Greeks this! He jumped halfway through the history of Human civilization into what he believes is the most important, instead of going in a chronological order, which to be fair disproves all the nonsense he spewed!
WOOW you have no idea of what you are talking about. Instead of looking at everything on surface, DIG more you might come back with the truth! hALF OF WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS CRAP! REVIEW YOUR HISTORY, TAKE LOOK AT THE BOOK OF ENOCK TO FIND OUT WHERE THE GODS ARE COMING FROM! AND READ HOMER'S ILLIADE TO HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE GREC PHILOSOPHIES AND OFFERINGS. Riview your historical facts! Don't just make a documentary to make a documentary about how YOU think people where living... STUDY the facts! I am not interested about the history accord. to YOU!
Excellent documentary, what an insight!
Loved this documentary. I am ignorant of art beyond; I like that, I don't like that. I found this very illuminating. As far as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin who are often mentioned in comments. I don't care for them. Don't hate em but could care less. They do not inspire much in me. I think I get their challenge, just can't be bothered with it. I imagine a walk through an active land fill would be just as enlightening.
Collings is a great presenter. and **** all you christians out there. you think you know the history of christianity? well its a cult that, like rampant capitalism, has destroyed much more than it has cultivated
this is a must watch for lovers of history, society, or art. loved it.
Well Carl, sure...Athens was a multicultural wonderland...
I dont like how they show Athens as the caucasian marvel of thinking. Athens was a metropolis and with a metropolis comes immigration bringing new ideas. Athenian democracy comes from the reflexions of many people from many NATIONS.
There used to be awesome stone statues in Sydney in the 1800's, but christian moral crusaders went on a campaign to have them removed because they depicted the naked human form. the only statue that was 'moral' enough to stay was one of a naked boy pulling a thorn out of his foot.
I wanted to learn more about civilizations NOT listen to another Anti-Christ doing so under the name of Art and History and Civilization, noble big themes. Mr. Collings, you are boring and un-imteresting and you full of grudges against Christ and your concept of Christianity and understanding of it could not be more false. Where did you learn about it? Goodness! I think when one has the dignity to come forth as an expert on such an important subject matter, one should keep his religion convictions to himself and tell history truthfully WITH NO JUDGEMENT. YOU OWE THIS TO YOUR AUDIENCE, to the value of our time. I hope you make a second version that is objective and in which you keep your own religious beliefs to yourself.
I enjoyed this series. Collins put to words the thoughts and feelings that I have had about art and life. It makes me ask questions. Isn't that what constitutes "learning?"
He's out of breath, doesn't wear the right suit, likes art that some traditionalists don't and often relies on cliches. Such "profound" criticism hardly undermines an attempt to outline and summarize. Teachers do it all the time. We are expected to delve, on our own, more into the details of a narrower aspect that interests us. Collins couldn't possibly be as arrogant and shallow as his critics. (Also, cliches can be useful, having survived for good reasons, and Pollack's art is exuberant and exhilarating to the less fossilized among us.)
Brilliant, every bit of it!
What is the name of the Chinese artist at the end, I couldn't catch it...?
I have to agree with the haters up to one point. True, there's a lot of "over-simplification" and a bit of arrogance to the man's tone. Also, his interpretation of history is indeed a bit "off" at times. Plus, I find nothing more ironic than someone trying to explain abstract art let alone its impact on "civilization". Yet, from a layman's perspective I find this documentary quite useful. The part where he explains how art became "socialzed" and "democratized" is the driving essence and intention of the whole series and it struck a powerful chord. Besides, we must remember that it's made for T.V. It is meant to be broadcasted; to offer a small window into to the world of art and its power to express and to shape expression. Beats the heck out of watching Jersey Shore and for that I thank him.
is this guy always out of breath or what? like hes ALWAYS panting. take a breather man, no hurry.
@pieter graydon - could not agree more!
This is 'in flight magazine' stuff - 80% eye-candy and 20% fluff. But what fluff! Collins ad hominem straight to the camera is totally cringe-worthy. He must be a deeply stupid and ignorant man. Think about it. He is making a documentary about 'civilisation' - not exactly a modest topic. Something as big as that and you are going to discuss it in four episodes. Less than four hours to cover the history of the world. Are you for real? Totally fatuous. An intelligent man might have been more realistic and set a more modest aim. Such a man would be worthy of respect. Collins just looks like a fool.
Whilst engaged in this pointless exercise in reductivity he makes continous throw-away remarks about innumerable subjects any one of which is a huge topic in itself and a focus of intense scholarship and academic debate - examples from the first minutes of the first episode (a) The history of 'civilisation' can be reduced to the history of 'art' - only examples from Western art will be offered (b) The relationship between Egypt and Greece is that of parent to child - demonstrated by a simplistic discussion of the evolution of the 'Kouroi' (c) The Greeks 'invented democracy' (d) Late Classical paganism equates to the cult of Artemis in Ephesus (e) The West became Christian because of a political choice made by one man, Constantine. Need I go on? Is this clown for real? I expected someone to run on set and throw a cream pie. Scholarship or slapstick? Collins is not just a fool he is also a man with only a very superficial knowledge of his chosen subject (i.e. 'civilisation') who is seriously over-reaching himself.
Does he really think that his audience are so ignorant that they will not know a great deal about 'civilisation', 'art', and 'world history'? Does he really think that he can talk down to his audience and spout crass drivel and not be greeted with derision? Collins seems to have no insight. He must be a very arrogant and conceited man.
If Collins had any colleagues surely they would have advised him against making this series? What was his editor thinking?! Unless his colleagues are even worse than he is - but is such a thing possible? Taken all in all, Collins must live alone with only potatoes for company. Yep, amongst tubers, Matthew Collins is a god. Amongst educated men Matthew Collins is a spud.
This is interesting.. i don't know when it was filmed but i believe now civilisation is coming to value values again, not old ones, i think we're on our way to sussing out our own.
I felt this was full of clichés. It's much like a TV dinner, with art overly forced into tinfoil sections that don't relate. Above all, the section on modern seemed like a collection of bromides, and when Hitler was brought on stage, I wanted to check out.
why is collins wearing that suit which makes him look like a yuppie rather than a doc narrator..
I like everything and respected most that Collings has to say about Art and even how it relates to Religion (or vice versa) until he brought up the sh*t work of Jackson Pollock... Gag me with a crucifix, how can the beautiful abstract work of Islamic art even be compared with the nonsense drips of J.P.
very glad i watched this. the explinations he gives are fantastic and really makes you think and appreciate modern art.
Excellent documentary. I definitely recommend it.
Matthew Collings is truly a specialist in his field. He is quite educated and applies his knowledge and analytical insights into the codes of artistic periods in a way that ties in the evolutionary aspects of nature, expression and religion. Christians and Muslims would do well to view "feelings". I especially liked his transitions from ancient art, to classical, pagan/Christian, Christian power and Islamic repudiation of images to geometric unity and oneness.
'I liked the “feelings” episode the best.'
wow, just wow. The hatemaster of critique displaying a sensative side.bring back the real HM. imposter.
I watched episode 1 last night and liked it and now i'm definately gonna watch ep.2
I liked the "feelings" episode the best.