Civilisations How do we Look & the Eye of Faith, BBC
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Publication Date: 04/18
Since civilisation began, we have attempted to understand what it means to be human - be it through art, language, culture, or religion. Our understanding is most often split between two different interpretations of the self: as a physical being and spiritual one. Here, Professor Mary Beard lends a helping hand, mapping the progression of our understanding through the history of art and religion in civilisations. Focusing on the arrival of the human figure as a physical subject of art, Mary Beard examines the history of beauty. Beginning with the Jericho painted skulls from 10,000 years ago, and spanning the globe. Mary then focuses on how art enabled large and complex societies to organise themselves through religion. The power of Christianity in Europe is examined through the glittering Byzantine mosaics at Ravenna, the exquisite calligraphy of Islamic art shows how aniconic art and the removal (largely) of the human figure pointed to a different way of conveying the divine and how each piece describes the spiritual harmony of 'heaven and earth'. Mary examines in depth the creativity that gave identity to great civilisations, past and present.
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