This Is Civilization
This episode looks at how art came to express our human emotions and the full range of what it is to be human.
Mathew Collings examines the work of two great 18th century artists - David and Goya - in a journey that takes him from the glories of Renaissance Italy to the turbulent, violent Paris of the French Revolution.
David's art is all about the nobility of man, our higher aspirations. Goya explores our baser side, our darker fears, our murderous drives. Together they're what Collings calls 'the yin and yang of feeling'. Freed to express itself, humanity can be great - but it can also be monstrous. It's a revelation whose consequences we're still living with today.
Collings also travels further back in time, to discover the first glimmerings of this art of human feelings in the Italian Renaissance. He celebrates the loveliness of the art of the great Florentine artist Giotto, and tackles the famous mystery of the most celebrated icon of the new vision of humanity that the Renaissance produced: Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.