Okay, as promised, I watched “How Art Made the World” on PBS last night, and overall I quite enjoyed it. It’s gimmicky — mainly in the editing and soundtrack — but not desperately so, and there were some very cool moments:
Spivey holding the wee 4-inch Venus of Willendorf in his hand. I knew it was small, but seeing it held really brings it home.
The montage of other venuses from all over the Mediterranean. Some of them are so alike you’d think they were carved by the same hand.
Prof. V.S. Ramachandran explaining how exaggerated features are intensely stimulating to seagull chicks as a prism through which to view these highly unrealistic venuses.
A recreation of the Italian diver uncovering the Bronzi di Riace. Yes that’s right. I actually found a recreation compelling. That’s a first for me, let me tell you.
The montage of Greek statuary showing the development of anatomical realism.
The explanation of the Greek version of exaggerated physical features, using a living model and some computer graphics to describe how the Greeks divided the body into planes and then sought to make each section different but balanced.
The examination of the Bronzi di Riace as examples of Greek exaggeration despite their seeming realism.
I’m looking forward to the follow-up episodes. Until then, I’ll leave you with a little something fun to look at courtesy of the Bronzi di Riace.