ART OF THE WESTERN WORLD
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Art history, from Ancient Greece to Andy Warhol
“Illuminating” —The New York Times
“A work of art” —The New York Times
A sweeping overview of Western art
Title, artist, medium, and date--usually that’s the only information offered by museum placards. But as historian Michael Wood demonstrates, art is so much more than paint on canvas or figures chipped from stone. From the bloody revolution that inspired The Death of Marat to the postwar exuberance of Andy Warhol's Campbell’s Soup Cans, Wood reveals how Western art mirrors Western culture, each work forever reflecting the cultural forces, historical events, and social changes that defined its era.
Beginning in ancient Greece and Rome, historian Michael Wood leads this eye-opening tour through 2,500 years of Western art. Four years in the making and filmed at over 150 locations in 8 countries, this nine-part documentary travels from sun-bleached temples to soaring cathedrals, palaces to villas, galleries to gardens, and Soho’s streets to the Arizona desert. The fascinating journey is complemented by close-up views of masterpieces, walks through important buildings, and informative commentary by historians and scholars.
20-page viewer’s guide with an interview with executive producer Perry Miller Adato; a history of frescoes; articles on the windows of Chartres Cathedral, the Paris salons, pop-art controversy, and great artworks lost to history; and timeline of artistic movements
Biographies of major artists and of Michael Wood
Fun facts about oil paints, poems by Michelangelo, and discussion questions at athenalearning.com
Top Customer Reviews
Immediately this DVD set brought back my own personal art history experience of 1960s undergraduate art major days. I discovered this series is closely related to a text "History of Art" by H. W. Janson. That university art history text has been preserved by me now for 43 years and was consulted while viewing this DVD set. A Coordinating Producer for the "Art of the Western World" PBS documentary was Gail Janson. I suspect a connection, book-series. Film is an enhanced way to see a sculpture (all sides), painting (zoom), or architecture (interior and out)-- betters textbook photos.
Episodes are each almost an hour, SUBTITLED, and follow Parts and Chapters of the mentioned "History of Art" text. Text locations indicated in ( ).
1: The Classical Ideal
Greek & Roman impact on the world to follow. (Part 1 Chap. 5,7)
2 A white Garment of Churches: Romanesque and Gothic Art
Pilgrimage, cathedrals & monks manuscripts to Gothic flying buttresses & pointed arches.Read more ›
Wonderful commentary by leading art historians also add to the production.
I was very pleased this was made available on DVD. It has been freely available as a low resolution broadcast on the internet but it's nice to see the full glory of the new digital transfer. It may look dated due to the use of film initially,but it was an exceptional production.
Moreover, even though historian Michael Wood narrates all nine, each episode gives considerable time to individual art historians of particular periods and artists. So, for example, in episode 7, "Impressionism and Postimpressionism", one art historian gives a wonderfully accessible yet deeply informed commentary on Courbet, Manet and the Impressionists. And then another art historian takes over for the Postimpressionists, and gives a less accessible art jargon filled commentary.
In addition, some episodes try to cover too much and therefore move quickly, while others such as the one on the Baroque, the focus is kept on seven artists: Pietro di Cortona, Borromini, Bernini, Caravaggio, Velazquez, Rubens and Rembrandt, giving lots of screen time to the paintings themselves, something I really appreciated.
And finally, the production values seem really dated, even though it is from the late 1980s. The production notes say they filmed in 150 locations in eight countries, at considerable cost. And yet that is woven with other grainy stock footage of scenery.
All in all, though, it was worth watching, and the price is reasonable.
This second episode focuses on the cathedrals and churches constructed in Europe from the tenth century (Romanesque period) to the High Gothic period. It shows how the Middle Age architects used the Roman principles of architecture and engineering, and how they refined Roman building techniques, to create the extraordinary cathedrals and churches of the Middle Ages. This episode not only focuses on the cathedrals of France and Spain, but, also on the Norman spread of Romanesque architecture to England. In appreciating this episode, it helps to have viewed the first episode in the series: The Classical Ideal, but, it is not necessary to view the first episode in order to appreciate this one.
The episode focuses on the development of the High Gothic cathedrals in Chartres and St. Deny (in France) and the perfection of the High Gothic cathedrals in England after the Norman conquest.
The series then continues, in the next episode, to show the extraordinary contributions that Italian artists made to art and architecture during the Early Renaissance period. The Early Renaissance
I really enjoyed watching this series. I own the DVD set, but, found that Amazon's digital download provides better resolution for HD tv's than a progressive scan image from the 1989 DVD set.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have enjoyed this since it first came out, because I had copied it from PBS. However, I bought it because I always wanted it on a more up to date system. Read morePublished 2 months ago by David G. Wilson
This is a rather old documentary and so the technical qualities of the production are lacking. This would be very much more appreciated in HD.Published 3 months ago by dan
Very well done. Viewing this was an art class assignment in college. The creators of this series also publishes the textbook from the class so it has content. Read morePublished 4 months ago by disbaldguy
Disappointed. Dated in presentation and multiple presenters results in a lack of unity and they don't have enough space/time to develop their ideas.Published 5 months ago by P Capelle
Very fine, thoughtful, well developed and presented, a delightful series of lectures.Published 8 months ago by MarkW