In each episode historian Simon Schama treats, in his own erudite, unconventional and somewhat socially engaged style, a work of art from a great master. He concentrates not just on the art... See full summary »
The 18 original 30-minute episodes are consolidated to 9 one-hour episodes on the U.S. DVD: (1) "The Classical Ideal": The origins of Western art are traced to ancient Greece and Rome. (2) "A White Garment of Churches": Romanesque and Gothic churches and the effect of monasticism and pilgrimage on art and architecture. (3) "The Early Renaissance in Italy and the North". (4) "The High Renaissance": Includes Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. (5) "Realms of Light": The Baroque period, including Bernini, Caravaggio, Velasquez, Rembrandt. (6) "An Age of Reason, an Age of Passion": Rococo, Neoclassicism, Romanticism. (7) "Realists, Impressionists, Post-Impressionists". (8) "Into the Twentieth Century" ; Fauves, Cubists, Surrealists, etc. (9) "In Our Own Time": Post-war period, Abstract Expression, Post-Modernism, etc. Pollock, Warhol, Oldenburg, etc. Internationalization in the 1970s and 1980s. Written by
Fiona Kelleghan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This 9-hour presentation, hosted by the illustrious Michael Wood, covers 2500 years of Western art, architecture, and sculpture, beginning with its indelible foundations in ancient Greece and Rome. The series took four years to produce, and and it visits 150 locations in 8 countries. From Greece and Rome, the series continues through the Middle Ages (the Romanesque and Gothic periods), the Renaissance, the Baroque, Age of Reason, and Rococo, and then the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, and all of Modern Art including Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, etc., and Post-Modernism through the 1980s.
This series is meant for any and all levels of knowledge from beginner to master, and even the confirmed art student cannot fail to learn a lot. I was most impressed with the earliest episodes -- I was unable to watch them without frequently exclaiming "Incredible!" "Extraordinary!" "Amazing!"
As the series approaches modern times, the choice of what to include and what to exclude becomes much wider, and it's possible that a viewer may disagree about what was excluded, so the latest episodes could possibly seem to some viewers somewhat sketchier or less well thought out. Still, learning opportunities abound, and doors are constantly opened to new levels of understanding and exploration. And the historical information that accompanies the series is flawless.
All in all, this is a magnificent document and a must-see for any art or architecture lover or anyone wanting to become more knowledgeable. It's available on DVD in the consolidated 9-episode U.S. version (rather than the 18-episode UK version of the same length), and also viewable online on Amazon streaming. It's possible to locate it elsewhere online, but the video quality will be very very poor (and after all, you're viewing it for the details of art), so stick to the DVD or Amazon streaming.
Please do check this out if you love art or long to appreciate it. You will not be disappointed.
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