The classic international bestseller -- a marvellously exciting and stimulating look at the emergence and development of Western civilisation
Kenneth Clark's sweeping narrative looks at how Western Europe evolved in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire, to produce the ideas, books, buildings, works of art and great individuals that make up our civilisation.
The author takes us from Iona in the ninth century to France in the twelfth, from Florence to Urbino, from Germany to Rome, England, Holland and America. Against these historical backgrounds he sketches an extraordinary cast of characters -- the men and women who gave new energy to civilisation and expanded our understanding of the world and of ourselves. He also highlights the works of genius they produced -- in architecture, sculpture and painting, in philosophy, poetry and music, and in science and engineering, from Raphael's School of Athens to the bridges of Brunel.
Kenneth Clark has used his masterly knowledge and understanding of the arts of Western Civilisation to describe and appraise its creative achievements. - Times Literary Supplement
He convincingly makes the case for the development of European art and architecture since the end of the Roman Empire as the foundations on which modern Western society rests - Lloyd's List
Combines great learning with a shrewd mind, a wonderful eye and an admirable generosity of taste ... again and again he compels us to look at some more or less familiar work of art and see it afresh. - Observer
He is without equal - The Listener
One of the too few living authors who tempt me to use superlatives, and also the best for making his profound feeling for the arts contagious. The book glows with excitement for us general readers. - Sunday Times
The most famous art historian of his generation - The Herald magazine
Civilisation is an improving text, even after 35 years - Paul Lay, BBC History