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 NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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THIS IS CIVILIZATION + Civilization: The West and the Rest with Niall Ferguson + The War of the World: A New History of the 20th Century
Price for all three: $65.74

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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Athena
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2012
  • Run Time: 72 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,559 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • 12-page viewer’s guide with articles including Muse vs. Master, Living in the Material World, and the Art of War
  • Biographies of featured artists
  • Plus discussion questions and more at

SDH subtitles

Editorial Reviews

"Illuminating dash through the history of culture" —The Independent (U.K.)
"Entirely riveting" —The Observer (U.K.)

A globe-trotting tour of art and culture

In This Is Civilization, artist and critic Matthew Collings follows the common threads of inspiration and influence that link diverse art movements over centuries and continents. This four-part series is a contemporary update of the BBC’s landmark 1969 series Civilization, with an expanded focus on non-Western art.

Collings traces the currents of emotion, money, and politics that shaped art through the centuries as he walks the halls of London’s Tate Gallery, the temples of ancient Egypt, a munitions-factory-turned-art space in Beijing, and other locales. As Collings shows, intricate patterns on mosques exude the same unifying aesthetic found in Jackson Pollock’s paintings, and kitschy reprints of Mao Zedong echo the devotional zeal of medieval church mosaics. At the same time, cultural forces as diverse as fascism and Christianity leave their own distinctive stamps on the art of their eras.

Broadcaster, critic, and author Matthew Collings has written extensively on contemporary art and hosted television programs including This Is Modern Art and Beautiful Equations. A classically trained artist, he collaborates with his wife, Emma Biggs, on abstract paintings.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Starts like a house afire, and draws the viewer into excellent film looks at segments of the art world. A broadcaster and abstractionist, Matthew Collings looks at civilization through the art world, aesthetics, and history. It's a bit of an update from 1969's "Civilization" in 13 episodes. This 2007 set is four, and the title is actually "THIS IS CIVILISATION" using an `S' in place of a `Z' on the film opening title segments. Correct spelling was used on the box and discs. The odd spelling mimes like a quirk that the narrator gets into in other ways on more than one occasion.

Overall it's an instructive trek, with the narrator's opinion of how history has proved to tie together civilization and visual art forms. It converges into at least 11 countries and art from Egyptian to today's popular digital images. Collings tries to show the influence of his four chosen topics, one each episode. His ideas are not always mainstream.
There is nudity, primarily in the form of fine art sculpture, paintings and photo images.

A look at art and religion through history beginning with Greek gods, then backing up to Egyptian gods. Back to a Parthenon look prior to the Isenheim Alterpiece; Christian God art. Beliefs depicted in images. Roman gods shown in art fell with the Empire due to Christianity spreading & its art replacing pagan god sculpture. View catacomb paintings followed by Constantine's Roman-Christian influence. Geometric patterns-not images, abstract art, represent Islamic belief.

Two revolutionary artists--David & Goya and how they portray political uprising. A charge of brushes, not swords. 18th Century questions of gods and if they are needed. Feeling emotion through 2 French & Spanish artists.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant exposition January 5, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Saw this some years ago on DirectTV and found it compelling. Happy to have it now. The critic is brilliant and integrates the effects of art and culture across civilizations.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative but narrator was unpleasantly forceful December 3, 2012
By Rene
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Content was good and interesting. However, the striding around by the narrator was disturbing and loud if not crude in over-emphatic statements. It almost seemed he was trying to ram it down the viewer's throat! However, what he actually said was quite illuminating. There is no comparison with the original "Civilization" by Sir Kenneth Clark., who was much more engaging, at least in my estimation.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This show is very deep, yet it moves fast and is very entertaining. It's not DRY at all. It covers the role art playes in mirroring civilisation. (english spelling), It shows how art changed and it's purpose changed and how societies move toward comercialism removed people from the inner search. It is a intense show and it is disturbing in many ways. the last episode really captures where we are today, however as much as I enjoy the modern art , which now evidently isn't even trying to be abstract , just playful usually , it is never going to be as good to me as art of a well drawn work. It does reflect uncertainity and the chaos of a world in decay though. And it is enjoyable to view. but why can't we have many styles of art in a art show? aren't they all valid? Anyways this will stir you and make you realize that for many people consumerism has replaced religions. However there are still ideals people believe in , even in the most cynical of places like the uk. Even if we are let down by many who stand for those ideals. See, how does a art show get you thinking about so many deep things? this one will!!! this is about art though and that is a interesting story to observe. the dvd set looks outstanding as it was shot on high grade film in 2007. but the subject is timeless. What is art? how does it reflect mankind and society? You may disagree with this man's views sometimes but you will learn alot and be intrigued.
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