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Survey the history of art, from antiquity to the present, on a global scale. Programs reveal the role art and creative imagination have played in forging humanity, and introduce viewers to works of beauty, ingenuity and illumination across cultures.

Lost LA
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Lost LA

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Full Episodes
A man looks at art in a lobby.
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Episode
53:06
Civilizations

What Is Art (Good for)?

Explore art in the age of revolution, war and profound scientific change and consider the question: Should art create a separate realm, a place of escape, or should it plunge into the chaos, transforming the way we see and live in the world?
Season 1 Episode 109
Man poses in front of painting, from "Civiliazations: The Cult of Progress"
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Episode
53:34
Civilizations

The Cult of Progress

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.
Season 1 Episode 108
Color and Light
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Episode
53:00
Civilizations

Color and Light

Explore the story of light and color in art both in the search for greater realism and spiritual ecstasy.
Season 1 Episode 107
Paradise on Earth
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Episode
53:16
Civilizations

Paradise On Earth

Explore one of humanity's deepest artistic urges: the depiction of nature.
Season 1 Episode 106
civilizations renaissances
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Episode
53:36
Civilizations

Renaissances

Travel east and west to explore the connections and rivalries between Renaissance Italy and the Islamic empires that experienced their own cultural flowering in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Season 1 Episode 105
A man looks up to observe a large painting hung on an exquisitely adorned wall. | "Civilizations: Encounters"
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Episode
53:46
Civilizations

Encounters

See how advances in seafaring 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.
Season 1 Episode 104
Closeup of a statue's face featured in "Civilizations: The Second Moment of Creation."
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Episode
53:16
Civilizations

The Second Moment of Creation

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. Liev Schreiber narrates.
Season 1 Episode 101
What Is Art Good For?
Watch with PBS Passport
Episode
53:06
Civilizations

What Is Art Good For?

Explore art in the age of revolution, war and profound scientific change.
Season 1 Episode 9