Civilizations

Season 1
 (80)7.72018TV-PG
Survey the history of art, from antiquity to the present, on a global scale. Discover the role art and creative imagination have played in forging humanity, and see works of beauty, ingenuity, and illumination across cultures.
Genres
Special Interest
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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  1. 1. The Second Moment of Creation
    April 17, 2018
    53min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    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. 2. How Do We Look?
    April 24, 2018
    53min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    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. 3. God and Art
    May 1, 2018
    53min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    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. 4. Encounters
    May 8, 2018
    54min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    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. 5. Renaissances
    May 15, 2018
    53min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    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. 6. Paradise on Earth
    June 12, 2018
    53min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    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. 7. Color and Light
    June 19, 2018
    53min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    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. 8. The Cult of Progress
    June 26, 2018
    53min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    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. 9. What Is Art Good For?
    July 1, 2018
    53min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    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?

More details

Season year
2018
Network
PBS
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

80 global ratings

  1. 82% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 4% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars

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Top reviews from the United States

ErinReviewed in the United States on January 13, 2019
5.0 out of 5 starsAn amazing docuseries
Verified purchase
One of the best documentaries. This series is good for lovers of art history, but also accessible to those just starting out. I cannot describe how amazing this show is as it brings you through history in the lens of art. A must see to history lovers everywhere.
14 people found this helpful
Linda WhiteReviewed in the United States on June 1, 2018
5.0 out of 5 starsIntelligently and beautifully done
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Put PBS and the BBC together on a documentary and you get perfection. I bought the entire season and can't wait for the rest of the programs.
6 people found this helpful
DallasKiwiReviewed in the United States on October 30, 2018
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat summary and update on civilization thinking
Verified purchase
Each episode is very dense with content, well worth it but don’t binge, think about it
4 people found this helpful
Kindle CustomerReviewed in the United States on January 22, 2019
5.0 out of 5 starsExcellent series.
Verified purchase
Very educational. Enjoyed very much.
2 people found this helpful
Ellen ReidReviewed in the United States on August 6, 2018
3.0 out of 5 starsInformative and scholarly but dry
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It was kind of interesting, but a little dry and boring. I found myself dozing off.
2 people found this helpful
Chris GreenReviewed in the United States on May 22, 2021
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat series/Watch it now!
Verified purchase
Amazing series. Glued to the TV until I finished it. Feeling like I received and education in early human history.
J SindellReviewed in the United States on January 22, 2019
2.0 out of 5 starsScholarship Infected By Ideology
Great achievements have abounded throughout the globe throughout time. There's no doubt about that.

But Episode 5, with its cloying title "Renaissances," requires the viewer to stand on his or her head, squint, and smoke grass to accept the premise that cultural achievements in India and the Islamic world at the time of The Renaissance—i.e., THE Renaissance—were on a par of the achievements of the actual Renaissance. The Indian miniatures presented were colorful and attractive, but by no means comparable in craft, insight, or artistry to the innumerable masterpieces created by Renaissance painters and sculptors. Similar false equivalencies are presented elsewhere in the episode, and Truth turns her head.
22 people found this helpful
Ian WalterReviewed in the United States on March 5, 2021
1.0 out of 5 starsHistory of Art Infected By Woke Ideology
There was plenty here to like, until the producers obviously felt compelled to kneel to woke ideology. All art is grand, they seem to say, except for western art and perspective, which corrupts all things. Yawn. Here we go again.

Most unfortunate.
11 people found this helpful
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