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How Art Made the World
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Why does our world look like it does? That great modern mystery is spectacularly unraveled in this international landmark series and epic quest across five continents and 100,000 years, via some of the greatest treasures of the ancient world -- to the heart of human creativity. Encompassing everything from cave paintings to ceramics and pyramids to palaces, How Art Made the World probes the global trend for unrealistic depictions of the human body; the secret powers of the feature film; how politicians manage to manipulate people so easily; visions of death and the afterlife; and, crucially, why we use imagery at all.]]>
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The 5 episodes (58 mins each) are:
Ep.1: More Human than Human - Why have humans felt the need to create visual representations of themselves and specifically why indulge in distortions of the human form? Is this hardwired in the human brain? What can we learn from modern studies in neuroscience?
Ep.2: The Day Pictures Were Born - What might have been the reasons for the Paleolithic cave paintings of Altamira and Lascaux? What can the the more recent cave paintings left by the San bushman in the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa tell us? What have studies into altered states of consciousness taught us and how is this applicable to our understanding of the cave paintings?
Ep.Read more ›
One of the most interesting parts was the section on Gobekli Tepe, in Turkey, where huge engraved pillars were erected 12,000 years ago. This was the same time and place where wheat was first cultivated, and people moved from hunting/gathering to farming. The theory presented was that the agricultural endeavor was begun in order to feed the thousands involved in building and enjoying these decorated pillars. This differs from the usual assumption that people went where the food was and then culture developed. Intriguing.
My issue with this series is the unquestioning acceptance of brain theories in some of their analyses. People in unrelated cultures made figurines of the female form with rotund bellies and breasts, and minimized other features. Baby birds whose mothers have red stripes on them peck at sticks with red stripes painted on them. Therefore, a brain expert declares, it is hardwired in our brains to exaggerate certain characteristics. Where is the evidence that it has anything to do with the brain? And what does "hardwired in our brains" mean, exactly? It always amazes me when silly theories are accepted without question because they are expressed with an air of authority by an "expert". It is not surprising that unrelated people in harsh environments, where starvation and racial extinction were real concerns, would make a fetish of the female form looking well fed, pregnant and laden with milk.Read more ›
Some of the conclusions presented are not well supported and seem contrived. However there are enough fascinating subjects to make this well worth watching.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
These two DVDs gilded our Christmas break: we watched it over and over again. Helps kids and adults to grasp the meaning, purpose and concepts of art from stone age to the 21st... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Anna Lerant
My wife is teaching Art History and has watched every minute several times. Humans are visual learners and this was recommended by her department chair who had a copy.Published 2 months ago by michael g California Kid
I originally watched this DVD whilst in one of my classes during my time in college studying Graphic Design while we worked on our projects. Read morePublished 2 months ago by K.W
I had got this for school Art 2. I was surprise to find that is it keep my attention and was informational.Published 13 months ago by Captain
Very interesting, well narrated and good visual support. But what I found most rich about this series was the concepts the author argues as key to art. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Luis M. Serrano
This was something that I'd wanted for a long time and it was wonderful that I got it as quickly as I did. Thank you.Published 22 months ago by Kenneth Willard
I was expecting more far reaching art history, and less somewhat dubious theories, forced onto the artworks. The presentation is pleasant, Dr. Read morePublished 22 months ago by EmmaZ