Civilisation: A Personal View by Kenneth Clark

Civilisation: A Personal View by Kenneth Clark, aired in 1969, is a BBC documentary series written and presented by Kenneth Clark, outlining the history of Western art, architecture, and philosophy since the Dark Ages. The series consists of thirteen episodes, taking a historical approach to Western art from the collapse of Roman empire to the mid 20th century.

Civilisation hosted by Kenneth Clark

Episode 01 - The Skin of Our Teeth
Kenneth Clark travels from Byzantine Ravenna to the Celtic Hebrides, from the Norway of the Vikings to Charlemagne's chapel at Aachen, telling his story of the Dark Ages; the six centuries following the collapse of the Roman Empire.

Episode 02 - The Great Thaw
Kenneth Clark tells of the sudden reawakening of European civilisation in the 12th century. He traces it from its first manifestations in the Cluny Abbey to its high point, the building of Chartres cathedral.

Episode 03 - Romance and Reality
Kenneth Clark explores the aspirations and achievements of the later Middle Ages in France and Italy, taking a journey from a castle in the Loire, through the hills of Tuscany and Umbria, to the cathedral baptistry at Pisa.

Episode 04 - Man: The Measure of All Things
Visiting Florence, where, Kenneth Clark argues, European thought gained a new impetus from its rediscovery of its classical past. He also visits the palaces at Urbino and Mantua, other centres of Renaissance civilisation.

Episode 05 - The Hero as Artist
Kenneth Clark takes us back to 16th century Papal Rome and discusses Michelangelo, Raphael, and da Vinci. He explores the courtyards of the Vatican, the rooms decorated for the Pope by Raphael, and the Sistine Chapel.

Episode 06 - Protest and Communication
Kenneth Clark takes us back to the Reformation. Traveling through Germany, France and England, he looks at Albrecht Durer, Martin Luther, the world of Erasmus, Montaigne, and Shakespeare.

Episode 07 - Grandeur and Obedience
Again in Rome of Michelangelo and Bernini, Kenneth Clark tells of the Catholic Church's fight against the Protestant north, the Counter-Reformation and the Church's new splendour symbolised by the glory of St. Peter's.

Episode 08 - The Light of Experience
Kenneth Clark tells of new worlds in space and in a drop of water that the telescope and microscope revealed, and the new realism in the Dutch paintings which took the observation of human character to a higher stage of development.

Episode 09 - The Pursuit of Happiness
Kenneth Clark talks of the harmonious flow and complex symmetries of the works of Bach, Handel, Haydn and Mozart - and the reflection of these in the Rococo churches and palaces of Bavaria.

Episode 10 - The Smile of Reason
Kenneth Clark discusses the Age of Enlightenment tracing it from the polite conversations in the elegant salons of 18th-century Paris, through the subsequent revolutionary politics to the great European palaces, such as Blenheim and Versailles.

Episode 11 - The Worship of Nature
Belief in the divinity of nature, Kenneth Clark argues, usurped Christianity's position as the chief creative force in Western civilisation and ushered in the Romantic movement. He visits Tintern Abbey, the Alps, and there discusses the landscapes of Turner and Constable.

Episode 12 - The Fallacies of Hope
Kenneth Clark argues that the French Revolution led to the dictatorship of Napoleon and the dreary bureaucracies of the 19th century. He traces the disillusionment of the Romantic artists from Beethoven's music, Byron's poetry, Delacroix's paintings to Rodin's sculptures.

Episode 13 - Heroic Materialism
Clark concludes the series with his discussion of materialism and humanitarianism of the past century. This takes us from the industrial landscape of nineteenth century England to the skyscrapers of twentieth century New York.

Related Links
Civilisation: A Personal View by Kenneth Clark - wikipedia
Civilisation: A Personal View by Kenneth Clark is a television documentary series outlining the history of Western art, architecture, and philosophy since the Dark Ages.
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