Dr. Nigel Spivey, host of the five-part series How Art Made the World, is a lecturer at Cambridge University, where he teaches Classical Art and Archaeology. Additionally, he is the author of several books, including Songs of Bronze: The Greek Myths Made Real, The Ancient Olympics and Greek Art & Ideas. From his Cambridge University office, Dr. Spivey offered his commentary on the How Art Made the World series, exclusively for this KCET website.
EPISODE 1 - "MORE HUMAN THAN HUMAN"
Was the Venus of Willendorf a possible fetish object? - passed from eager prehistoric hand to prehistoric hand?
A Childbearing Talisman
Childbearing in prehistory was a traumatic process, and it only made sense to invoke some kind of supernatural power to assist in the process.
The Nude is not Naked
Some people think being nude denotes a state of innocence, while others associate it with debauchery.
EPISODE 2 - "THE DAY PICTURES WERE BORN"
Cave Paintings: The Work of a Paleocamera?
Prehistoric artists may have used some sort of device to transmit images onto rough surface, thus helping to create art.
Without Hands, No Art
The creation of art requires the skillful use of hands. Without them, there would be no art as we know it.
We Caricature Everyone We Meet
Neuroscientists have established that when we meet someone new, we store certain facial features in our memories that help us remember them.
EPISODE 3 - "THE ART OF PERSUASION"
Studying Too Much Art History
One great art historian grew up routinely seeing the female nude through art - a process that did not prepare him for the reality of his naked wife.
EPISODE 4 - "ONCE UPON A TIME"
Storytelling Predates Hollywood
Storytelling doesn't necessarily need a big-budget Hollywood film treatment to be effective.
Time Enough for Art
As food and shelter were abundant, Aborigines had plenty of leisure time to work on their art.
Not Meant for the Wider World
The most commercial of today's Aboriginal art has lost its meaning, because it was never meant to be seen by a wider audience.
EPISODE 5 -"TO DEATH AND BACK"
A Poet Prepares for Death
As he lay dying, writer D.H. Lawrence wrote a poem about the death process to help prepare himself for his own end.
Horror Movies, a Mortal Reminder
One of the purposes of storytelling is to remind us of our own mortality -- and good horror movies do this fantastically well.