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Civilizations on BBC/PBS

This series premiered on PBS in the US just over a year ago, as well as on BBC in the UK; it's available on Netflix in the US, as well. Certainly worth a watch, if you've not seen it already! Especially for those of us interested in the art, architecture, and art history of Europe, it can provide fascinating context to many of the things you'll see on your travels.

The series is kind of an extension of the original "Civilisation" Kenneth Clark documentary series from BBC in the the late 60s. Whereas that one was far more Europe-focused, Civilizations actually covers art and art history well beyond Europe so may very well be something you'll want to check out if you want to learn more about art and art history in the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

I found it to be a remarkably well done show, and have actually binge watched it several times on Netflix and PBS' TV app. After episode 5, for instance, and what it shares about Cellini's Perseus with the head of Medusa, you'll never experience the Piazza della Signoria the same way!

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I'll have to watch if it comes to Netflix Canada. The original was a credit course in high school....still used roll film. It was my first introduction to art history and given the premise of 'history through art's, I retained a lot more history than I did in a true history class. I loved that class and often spent hours doing homework and related study. The book is considerably drier. So glad I saw the film first.

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Definitely worth checking out if you get it on Netflix in Canada! The BBC version varied a bit from the PBS version we get here (on PBS and on Netflix) so I’m actually keeping an eye out for how I might get to see the BBC version here. There may be other ways to see the BBC version in Canada also.

We watched and spent some time discussing the original in one of my art history classes in college, and I remember finding it quite fascinating then. This new release is certainly different and takes a different approach but if you’ve seen and enjoyed the 1969 series you’ll certainly want to see how they’ve chosen to expand upon it!