Segments in this Video

Art in Evolution: Changing Values (02:20)


In the evolution of art and artistic expression, art has been raised to a high form of culture, nearly deifying artists such as Picasso. As people abandon religion in the modern world, museums replace temples, and artists become the gods.

Early Art Forms: Cave Paintings and Egyptian Art (04:42)

Humans began creating art early in human history, exemplified by ancient objects and cave paintings. In ancient Egypt, art clearly has a religious purpose and follows prescribed forms. Artists carve and paint what they were told, and the link between art and money is established for all time.

Greco-Roman Art (02:17)

Early Greek artists strive to depict space and depth by utilizing the "cannons," mathematical rules used to portray movements and proportions of the human body. Romans, after conquering Greece, nevertheless collect reproductions of Greek statues.

Medieval Christian Art (01:48)

In the Middle Ages, the Greco-roman heritage faded as Christianity spread, and for 600 years, artists depicted scenes mainly of religious life. Thus, art was an instructive tool for the masses. Artisans were considered "servants of God" and lived in obscurity.

Giotto: Master of the First Renaissance (01:53)

Artists come out of obscurity and begin signing their works around 1300, and Giotto, a painter of true perspective, becomes one of the first famous artists. Unlike his predecessors, he paints in perspective rather than in a religious hierarchy of different sizes for his figures of God, saints, and humans.

Artists in Their Times (02:26)

Leonardo believed that artists should have the status of creators, not artisans. Wealthy citizens pay well for a signed painting, so artists like Rubens set up painting "factories." Michelangelo, a mystical man, believes that through beauty a man might reach God.

What is Beauty in Art? (02:26)

From the 17th century on, the academies established that the fine arts were intellectual art. Aesthetic conventions were set by kings, so one finds particular depictions—myths, portraits, or scenes of daily life, for example—in vogue relative to who is in power.

Manet's Paintings (02:17)

In the 19th century, an artist’s survival depends upon being accepted by the Academies. The French Academy rejects Manet's painting because it had no justification for it existence other than for the work itself. Cezanne followed Manet, and the trend continues to modern art.

Impressionism (00:59)

The impressionists discover how to integrate light and movement into their canvasses, and painting is revolutionized. Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet, and Gauguin use art as a way of expressing their inner worlds.

Art as Protest (02:30)

Gradually, artists begin exploring new angles and perspectives. In 1907 Picasso's "Les Demoiselles" captures the essence of two prostitutes dying of syphilis. Soon, artists like the Dadaists and Italian futurists use art to question the established order.

Abstract and Modern Art (01:47)

Abstract art, with Kandinsky as its forerunner, becomes one of the most important trends in the West. Though artists criticize society, they continue to question themselves and their purpose. Dali believes that modern painters are imprisoned in the decadence of the times.

Pop Art and Andy Warhol (01:04)

In the 1960s, Andy Warhol creates the crisis of modern man, who more and more identifies with "the machine." His art depicts symbols and problems of American consumerism.

World Art (03:55)

In mid-19th century, the rest of the world discovers Japanese woodcuts, such as "The Great Wave." Interest in traditional art forms has grown steadily over the last century, and demand is growing for Chinese ceramics, Buddhist sculptures, African masks, and Mayan vases.

Art as Merchandise (04:12)

International tourism is a threat to artistic creation because the tourist market encourages artists to use mass production techniques. In recent decades, however, artists are returning to their traditional roots and integrating cultural elements into their works.

Modern Art (03:55)

In today's artistic landscape, all styles live together. Since the 1960s, increasingly bizarre works are displayed in museums, such as Duchamp's urinal. Many works of art need explanation, such as the statues of Giacometti.

What is Beautiful in Art? (03:48)

Today, in industrialized societies, modern art is judged not by wealthy patrons and monarchs, but by museums, art dealers, business, and government. What decides what the best modern art is? Money. Unlike past, beauty today has no clear, esthetic criteria.

Mystery of Artistic Creation (01:13)

Artistic creation is a mysterious process. The greatest artists strive to use their art to serve their own idea of the sacred. Today, the artist's life preserver is to find and follow the path towards meaning.

What Is Art? (05:40)

Today, artists can depict and draw anything on computers, but could a machine produce a work of art by itself? Art is not just a craft to be learned, but there must also be an "inner gift" that comes out in the work. Artists will continue to create their views of the world.

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The Evolution of Art

Part of the Series : Behold Humanity! A Sociological Perspective
DVD Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



For thousands of years, artists were anonymous, yet today they are frequently honored as celebrities. How did this change in perspective come about? This program tracks the cultural evolution of art—from the ancient Greeks to the modern world, where art is big business—and addresses the technological changes that have fueled various artistic revolutions down through the centuries. Featured experts are sociologist Vera Zolberg, of the New School for Social Research; Catherine Millet, editor-in-chief of Art Press; and art historians Marylin Stokstad, of the University of Kansas, and Jean-Luc Chalumeau, of Verso arts et lettres. (53 minutes)

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL10505

ISBN: 978-1-4213-0171-6

Copyright date: ©1999

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

"First-rate historical perspective."—Booklist

Highly recommended by MC Journal: The Journal of Academic Media Librarianship.

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.