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Rebuilding The Renaissance
26 minutes | Jun 29, 2022
Episode 180 - Rome: The Villa Farnesina - Renaissance Pleasure Palace Part II
This episode continues to explore the extraordinary painting decorations of Rome's seminal Renaissance suburban villa. From the zodiacal images that represent the patron's horoscope, to Sebastiano del Piombo's "Polyphemus," to one of Raphael's most beautiful paintings known as "The Galatea', and, finally, to the virtual-reality-like Hall of Perspectives, the extensive fresco decoration of the villa makes it one of the most impressive decorative complexes in the world.
29 minutes | Jun 22, 2022
Episode 179 - Rome: The Villa Farnesina - Renaissance Pleasure Palace Part I
The Villa Farnesina was the first Renaissance pleasure palace and belonged to the fabulously wealthy banker Agostino Chigi. The decorations of the palace delighted many a pope and international ruler. On one occasion, dinner was served on golden tableware that guests were invited to throw into the Tiber upon completing their meal. This episode explores the history and architecture of this extraordinary decorative complex; and how the erotic nature of the art clearly reflected the type of activity that took place within its walls.
23 minutes | Jun 15, 2022
Episode 178 - Rome - Raphael's Room of the Fire in the Borgo
The last of the apartments decorated by Raphael for Popes Julius II and Leo X was the Room of the Fire in the Borgo, painted between 1514-1517. Although largely executed by Raphael's student and friend Giulio Romano, the frescoes represent Raphael's mature period and were completed only 3 years before the artist's premature death in 1520. This episode will examine the style, iconography and history of the paintings in this extraordinary room with particular emphasis given to the homonymous fresco.
24 minutes | Jun 8, 2022
Episode 177 - Rome - Raphael's Room of Heliodorus
In 1511, after completing the decoration of the Stanza della Segnatura, Raphael began painting the walls of Pope Julius' private audience room. Named after its principal scene - The Expulsion of Heliodorus - the room contains four of Raphael's most beautiful paintings. This episode will explore the style, iconography and meaning of Raphael's paintings in the Room of Heliodorus.
24 minutes | Jun 1, 2022
Episode 176 - Rome - Raphael's School of Athens Part III
This is the final episode of a three-part series dedicated to Raphael's great fresco in the Vatican Museums. It addresses the extraordinary Classically-inspired architectural setting of the painting, as well as identifying the celebrated philosophical and scientific personages depicted. Lastly, this episode dismisses the conspiracy theory that the fresco is reflective of a failed plot on the part of Bramante and Raphael to humiliate Michelangelo.
26 minutes | May 25, 2022
Episode 175 - Rome - Raphael's "School of Athens" Part II
This episode explores the decorative context of Raphael's famous fresco. From Apollo on Mt. Parnassus, to the allegorical figures of the cardinal virtues, the extraordinary "Disputa", the paintings around the "School of Athens" are fundamental to its meaning.
21 minutes | May 18, 2022
Episode 174 - Rome - Raphael's "School of Athens" Part I
Although Raphael's fresco known as the "School of Athens" is the most celebrated painting of the Stanza della Segnatura, it is actually a part of a much larger program. This episode addresses the original function of the room, which was Pope Julius II's library, and how all of Raphael's paintings are in actuality part of a giant visual card catalog.
21 minutes | May 11, 2022
Episode 173 - Raphael - The Prince of Painters
This episode examines the extraordinary career of one of the most important painters in history – Raphael Sanzio da Urbino – better known simply as “Raphael.” Along with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, Raphael heralded in the period known as the High Renaissance. Combining grace, elegance and beauty, Raphael defined the standard for idealized painting.
29 minutes | May 4, 2022
Episode 172 - Answers to Open Questions XII
From unfinished church facades, to postponed Palios, to Renaissance giraffes, to Mona Lisa's smile, to the building behind the Trevi Fountain - and much, much more - this episode answers the very questions that you asked me about the great art, artists and history of the Italian Renaissance.
24 minutes | Apr 27, 2022
Episode 171 - Rome: Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel Ceiling Part VI
The prophets and sibyls that flank the main scenes of the Sistine Chapel ceiling are some of Michelangelo's most impressive figures. Their dramatic poses, expressive, vibrant colors and powerful forms are both inspirational and frightening. Below and between them, Michelangelo filled the spandrels and lunettes with human caricatures, almost as if he were entertaining himself with the often comic and strange figures. This podcast examines these lesser discussed parts of the Sistine Chapel ceiling paintings, as well as the decade-long-controversial restoration of the ceiling.
24 minutes | Apr 20, 2022
Episode 170 - Rome: Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel Ceiling Part V
The last three Genesis scenes of the Sistine Chapel ceiling demonstrate Michelangelo's extraordinary ability to represent complex subjects in incredibly effective ways. But they also reveal the divine artist's haste to complete the ceiling project. This episode closely examines the iconography, style and execution of these final frescoes and their role in the realization of the epic commission.
25 minutes | Apr 13, 2022
Episode 169 - Rome: Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel - Part IV
By the time Michelangelo reached the frescoes in the middle of the ceiling, he introduced a major stylistic change, due, most likely, to being able to see the frescoes from the ground. This episode examines the Adam and Eve scenes and how they reflect this stylistic change as well as revealing the major artistic influences on Michelangelo's paintings. Particular emphasis will be given to one of history's most famous paintings - The Creation of Man.
22 minutes | Apr 6, 2022
Episode 168 - Rome: Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel - Part III
Painting an 8,000 sq. ft. fresco cycle onto the ceiling of a chapel must have been a daunting task even for an artist of the caliber of Michelangelo. This episode examines the process and order by which Michelangelo executed his frescoes, focusing specifically on the first three painted scenes that depict the stories of Noah and the corresponding prophet and sibyl figures.
22 minutes | Mar 30, 2022
Episode 167 - Rome - Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel Ceiling - Part II
Although the Sistine Chapel is the Catholic world's most important chapel since it hosts papal conclaves, the subject matter of the ceiling paintings is largely Old Testament mixed with pagan imagery. This episode unpacks the rich and complex iconography of the many paintings executed by Michelangelo on the Sistine Chapel ceiling in Vatican City.
20 minutes | Mar 23, 2022
Episode 166 - Rome: Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel Ceiling - Part I
When Michelangelo signed the contract with Pope Julius II in 1508 to paint the Sistine Chapel Ceiling, little did he know the turmoil that awaited him. This first of several podcasts dedicated to the world's most famous ceiling will examine the circumstances behind the contract between artist and pope, and the initial steps taken by Michelangelo for the project.
29 minutes | Mar 16, 2022
Episode 165 - Rome: The Basilica of St. Peter
After 120 years of construction, the reign of 18 different popes, and the direction of 12 different architects, St. Peter’s Basilica was finally consecrated in 1626. Measuring more than two football fields in length, it was by far the largest church in Christendom, and a fitting monument to the burial place of the first pope. This episode explores the dramatic construction history of the great church and the architectural contributions of its various architects.
33 minutes | Mar 9, 2022
Episode 164 - Michelangelo and the Tomb of Julius II
When Michelangelo was called to Rome in 1506 by the Pope Julius II, it was to design and carve the mother of all tombs. Intended to stand four stories in height and directly over the tomb of St. Peter, and to accommodate 40 over-life-sized statues, it was a direct reflection of both the pope’s megalomaniacal tendencies and the artist’s overreaching ambition. The Sistine ceiling was the first of a series of interruptions to a project whose contract would be reworked three more times over nearly four decades of legal battles between the rock-star artist and the exasperated heirs of Pope Julius II. This podcast explores the history of this epic contractual contest that resulted in what Michelangelo’s earliest biographer described as “the tragedy of the tomb.”
23 minutes | Mar 2, 2022
Episode 163 - Venice - Titian's "Assumption" and "Pesaro Altarpiece" in the church of the Frari
Titian's two great altarpieces in the great Franciscan basilica of Venice known as the "Frari" marked a turning point in the artist's career. These were his first two public commissions and allowed all of Venice to appreciate the extraordinary talent of a young artist who was still only in his twenties. This episode explores the history, style, and patronage of the two great paintings and how they clearly demonstrate Titan's unique approach to painting.
18 minutes | Feb 23, 2022
Episode 162 - Titian's "Allegory of Sacred and Profane Love"
This episode examines one of the milestone masterpieces of Renaissance painting. Baffling art historians for centuries as regards its iconography, the early work by Titian is one of the treasures of the Borghese Gallery.
20 minutes | Feb 16, 2022
Episode 161 - Venice: Giorgione's "Tempest" and "La Vecchia"
Notwithstanding that his life and artistic career were cut short by plague in 1510 while the artist was in his thirties, Giorgione revolutionized European painting by his introduction of enigmatic and unconventional iconography. This episode examines two of Giorgione's most important paintings, both of which are located in the Accademia Gallery in Venice.
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