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Historian Simon Schama takes the lead on BBC's new art history show Civilisations

Ranging across thousands of years of visual creativity from across the globe, Civilsations is a follow-up to the classic Kenneth Clarke series Civilisation, first broadcast in 1969.

    Simon Schama: 'My mission was to be a kind of ventriloquist for the dead'
    Simon Schama: 'My mission was to be a kind of ventriloquist for the dead'

    Historian Simon Schama is back on the TV screen, as one of the presenters of BBC Four’s ambitious new series on art, Civilisations.

    Professor Schama, who presented the opener last week, will narrate four of the remaining episodes with David Olusoga and Mary Beard the other presenters.

    Ranging across thousands of years of visual creativity from across the globe, it is a follow-up to Kenneth Clarke’s famous series Civilisation, first broadcast in 1969.

    Professor Schama’s previous TV excursions have included series on the history of Britain and the history of Jews.

    For the final episode in Civilisations, he looks at some of the pictures painted by children incarcerated by the Nazis in Theresienstadt concentration camp which are on display in the Pinkas Synagogue, Prague.

    He also interviews the modern Israeli artist Michal Rovner, who has been working on a series of installations  made from stones of destroyed Israeli and Palestinian houses called Makom (meaning “Place” in Hebrew).

    The entire first series is available on BBC iPlayer.

     
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