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The Thinking Traveller
22 minutes | 15 days ago
Overpriced!? What some people pay for art
In 2017, a painting of the Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci sold for a record-breaking $450 million USD at Christie’s auction house in New York. What drives art prices to such astronomical levels? Dr Nick Gordon discusses why the art market is so attractive to investors, the role played by auction houses, and how this is affecting artists.
18 minutes | a month ago
Bhutan - a modern Shangri-La
Tucked away in the far eastern Himalaya, Bhutan is arguably the last bastion of the Tibetan Buddhist culture and religion in its truest form. Despite opening up to tourism in the late 70s, it has managed to minimise the effect of outside influences and the country remains virtually untouched. Judy Tenzing joins us today to discuss what she describes as “a modern Shangri-la”.
19 minutes | a month ago
Andrea Palladio - Architect of the Renaissance
Palladio was the most influential architect of the Italian Renaissance, and his buildings were perfectly proportioned, intelligent and gracious yet unpretentious and practical. In our latest episode, Dr Nick Gordon explores Palladio’s life and career, and explains why his books and buildings continue to influence architects today.
23 minutes | 3 months ago
Puccini, Callas & Two Italian Music Festivals
Royna McNamara joins us today to trace the footsteps of Giacomo Puccini and Maria Callas, and discuss the events that helped shape their musical lives. We begin on the picturesque shores of Lake Massaciuccoli in Torre Del Lago, where Puccini lived and composed for 30 years, before heading to the magnificent Arena di Verona.
39 minutes | 3 months ago
The 2020 US Presidential Election - Biden vs Trump
Three months out from the American election, the polls have Joe Biden ahead of Donald Trump in every State. But can we believe the polls? Is Trump in trouble? Have COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement changed the dynamics of American politics? Will Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris for Vice President have a big impact? What will it mean for America – and the world – if Trump is re-elected in November? And is it the end of America’s world dominance whoever wins? Dr Matthew Laing is here to answer these questions and many more about Trump, US politics and the 2020 election.
25 minutes | 3 months ago
Bilbao & The Guggenheim Effect
It’s known as the Guggenheim Effect – the extraordinary impact that the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao had in revitalizing the Basque city into an international arts destination. Initially, the idea for the museum generated so much controversy and opposition that it nearly didn’t happen. Dr Jeni Ryde joins us today to explain why Bilbao, as she puts it, is a phoenix rising from the ashes.
36 minutes | 4 months ago
A New Black Identity - The Harlem Renaissance
In the 1920s, a cultural movement emerged in uptown New York. For the first time in history, African Americans were living in large urban areas, economically independent, and becoming producers and patrons of the arts. Dr Matthew Laing joins us today to trace the rise and fall of the Harlem Renaissance, and explain its importance in the development of black identity in the United States.
32 minutes | 4 months ago
Mawson’s Huts - Antarctic Archaeology
Dr Estelle Lazer joins us today to discuss Sir Douglas Mawson’s colossus legacy in Antarctic exploration. Estelle was the first archaeologist to work at the site associated with Mawson's Australian Antarctic Expedition at Cape Denison on the Antarctic mainland. She has travelled to Antarctica seven times, including four summers camping and working on the ice at Cape Denison.
19 minutes | 5 months ago
Lake Mungo - the land frozen in time
Lake Mungo, in outback NSW, is one of the most significant archaeological sites in Australia. One of the Willandra Lakes, listed by UNESCO as a place of world heritage, it has been described as “the land frozen in time”. Rich in Aboriginal heritage, Dr Chris Carter joins us today to discuss the history and importance of Lake Mungo and the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area.
30 minutes | 5 months ago
Italian women artists of the 16th & 17th-century
When we talk about the Italian Old Masters we immediately think of Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto and Caravaggio. All men. But there were more women painters than you might imagine during the Italian Renaissance. Dr Kathleen Olive introduces us to some of them and explains how their work is now being revisited, restored and re-evaluated.
25 minutes | 6 months ago
Tenzing Sherpa – Tiger of the Snows
Tenzing Norgay Sherpa is a household name to many. In 1953, he and Edmund Hillary became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest. It was Tenzing’s lifelong dream and his seventh attempt. Historian Judy Tenzing joins us today to discuss the story of the illiterate, humble yak herder who rose to make his mark in history.
33 minutes | 6 months ago
Frank Lloyd Wright - a journey through modern America
Known as the greatest American architect of all time, Wright’s iconic structures continue to attract visitors from around the world. From his beginnings in Chicago to his masterpiece in New York, Wright’s work changed the way we build and live. Social historian Stuart Barrie discusses Wright’s colourful career and the lasting legacy of this genius American architect.
22 minutes | 7 months ago
Jeffrey Smart - from Adelaide to Italy
Although he spent much of his career in Italy, Jeffrey Smart is one of Australia’s most significant artists, famous for his depictions of stark urban landscapes, often entirely devoid of figures. In this episode, art historian Dr Nick Gordon discusses Smart’s life, work and prodigious career.
25 minutes | 7 months ago
Japanese gardens - history of an art form
Garden design is an important Japanese art form which has been evolving for over 1000 years. Literary and cultural historian Dr Kathleen Olive tells us about the history of the Japanese garden, what makes it so different from Western gardens, and how to make the most of a garden visit.
21 minutes | 8 months ago
Rehabilitation of the Romanovs - Russia's last tsar
Known during communist days as 'the Bloody', Nicholas is now more commonly known to Russians as the 'Tsar-Martyr'. Writer and historian Dr Matthew Dal Santo explores the changing attitudes in contemporary Russia since the collapse of Communism, and the rehabilitation of the Romanovs.
31 minutes | 8 months ago
The Norman Kingdom of Sicily – splendour in the sun
The Norman Conquest of Sicily began in 1061, five years before the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. Cultural historian Robert Veel traces how the Normans came to rule in Sicily, why they were so important to Sicilian culture, and where to find Sicily's surviving Norman monuments.
21 minutes | 9 months ago
Pompeii - uncovering the truth
Internationally acclaimed archaeologist, Dr Estelle Lazer, takes us to the ancient city of Pompeii, Italy, to uncover what is preserved under the ash. Estelle is now using CT scans and X-rays to investigate the unique plaster casts which encase many of the dead.
26 minutes | 9 months ago
The life of Caravaggio - as provocative as his paintings?
Cultural historian Dr Kathleen Olive takes us into the often volatile life and career of the most famous Italian painter of the Baroque period, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, and explains his role in art history, and how his paintings are viewed today.
18 minutes | 9 months ago
Venice – how to avoid the crowds
Cultural historian Robert Veel offers insights into how to locate the less-visited highlights when exploring Venice, including the best times to visit, tips on where to stay, and advice on how to discover the history of Venice without standing shoulder to shoulder with other tourists.
26 minutes | 9 months ago
Siberia & The Russian Far East - the world’s last travel frontier
Writer and historian Dr Matthew Dal Santo takes us to Siberia and the Russian Far East, and reveals the cultural and geographical wonders of one of the world’s last travel frontiers - from its awe-inspiring landscapes and unique to wildlife to a cultural kaleidoscope of peoples and dissidents.
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