humanity’s relationship with nature … through the history of art

On BBC Four, art historian James Fox tells the story of our ever-changing relationship with nature through the lens of some of the world’s most extraordinary artwork.

Land art is about the simple idea of going into nature and finding beauty in it.In the 3rd episode of Nature and Us Dr. James Fox visits James Turrell‘s Skyspace to explore how artists are re-imagining our relationship with nature.

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BBC Four – Nature and Us: A History through Art

James Fox at the British Museum in Nature and Us: A History Through Art. Photograph: Ben Harding/BBC/Keo Films

The three-part BBC Four documentary series Nature and Us, presented by art historian James Fox, explores humanity’s relationship with nature through the history of art, examining how people went from revering and feeling part of nature to separating from it and trying to master it.

Last week’s opener followed a twisting path from prehistoric, animal-focused cave paintings to early Christian art that placed humans centre stage. The second episode includes 7th-century China and the origins of landscape painting, the European scientific revolution (Fox argues that art and science are inextricably linked) and artists from the Romantic period who, like prototype ecowarriors, scorned human attempts to subdue and exploit nature.

It’s complex territory but riveting, and Fox and his various talking heads are informed and persuasive. A passionate climate message runs through Nature and Us, and so much more besides.

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