The affect of European artwork has formed the context by which we see our world. From its marvelous statues, work and structure, European artwork all through world historical past continues to fascinate and encourage generations.
“Rick Steves’ Art of Europe” is a brand new PBS sequence airing on WABE TV, weaving centuries of visible artwork into an unforgettable story. The phenomenally well-liked journey host Rick Steves joined “Metropolis Lights” host Lois Reitzes through Zoom to speak in regards to the new sequence.
Interview highlights comply with under.
How “Artwork of Europe” tackles the large questions on artwork historical past:
“I’ve been making TV exhibits about touring and tradition for 30 years for public tv, and I’ve all the time included slightly little bit of artwork in each certainly one of our episodes. We’ve made 150 or so episodes over time,” stated Steves. “However over the many years, we’ve amassed such an archive, and it’s such an enchanting story, and I’ve lengthy wished to place all of it collectively in a six-hour story that takes you from the prehistoric cave work proper as much as the artwork of our technology.”
“‘Why is Gothic [architecture] such a giant deal?’ ‘What was revolutionary in regards to the Impressionist motion?’ You realize, ‘What’s Cubism?’ These staple items. And I do know from my very own expertise, if you happen to can perceive what Gothic is all about earlier than you step into that cathedral, you’ll excitedly nudge your associate and say, ‘Isn’t this a wonderful enchancment over Romanesque?’” Steves laughed. “It’s wonderful what they might do 800 years in the past, and to know why did they do this, and the way did they do this, for me, it’s only a thrill. Plus, it’s flat-out lovely… I simply by no means get bored with trying on the lovely Botticelli work and the attractive Van Gogh sunflowers, the attractive Michelangelo carvings and the attractive stained glass that survives.”
On the inclusion of Egyptian artwork in a survey of Europe:
“That was a giant resolution, due to course it’s not in Europe, however it was type of in Western civilization. So I suppose a extra full title is perhaps ‘The Artwork of Western Civilization,’” Steves stated. “In our first hour, we observe the artwork because it goes from Megalithic, Stonehenge type of tradition, after which hastily we have now civilizations popping up, and it progresses from Egypt to Crete for the Minoans, after which to Mycenae, after which to Athens because the torch of civilization is handed evermore westward, and Egyptian artwork is simply flat out lovely and interesting. So it’s a part of the story; it had an affect on Greece, which had an affect on Rome, which had an affect on us.”
Acknowledging histories of colonial abuse and Eurocentrism:
“We discuss fairly boldly about how Europe raped, pillaged and plundered its means into dominance as a part of the story. However this can be a European story, and in the way in which Europe would enslave folks, after all it’s a giant a part of [the story]. So the artwork that powered [culture] in Spain and Portugal after the Age of Discovery could be included. However within the twentieth century, issues turn out to be extra numerous and extra inclusive, however till then, it actually was a world of elites, and you understand how the ability construction goes; and that has modified, and that has developed, and we’ve been capable of observe it. However Kenneth Clark did a sequence that impressed me after I was younger. It was referred to as ‘Civilization.’ And actually, to be trustworthy, it was European civilization, however that was earlier than a extra tuned-in age, and right this moment no one would name it ‘Civilization.’ You’d name it ‘European Civilization,’ if that was the main target.”
How artwork and journey broaden horizons and broaden views:
“I joke that my mission, with my hundred workmates right here in Seattle at ‘Rick Steve’s Europe,’ is to ‘equip and encourage People to enterprise past Orlando.’ I imply, Orlando’s enjoyable two or thrice, however you realize, after that you could possibly attempt Portugal. It’s not gonna chunk you,” Steves stated.
He went on, “Now, from an artwork viewpoint, we are able to have the identical type of enrichment by way of our travels if we perceive what we’re taking a look at. That may be, if we are able to perceive what causes poverty, if meaning what threatens democracy, if meaning why there are the impacts of wars, or how some societies are extra simply and equitable than different societies. We will study that as we journey, and we are able to carry that house, and we are able to additionally study from the place we’ve come simply by learning artwork, and the way societies have labored prior to now. And, you realize, all by way of the ages, artwork has had an agenda. It typically has served as propaganda, both for rulers or for wealthy folks or for non secular leaders. We have to perceive that with a purpose to be extra savvy, and we are able to study quite a bit from it.”
Rick Steves’ new sequence “Artwork of Europe” is now streaming on PBS at https://www.pbs.org/show/rick-steves-art-europe/, and this system airs on WABE TV on Friday at 4 pm and on Saturday at 2 pm.