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Rebuilding the Renaissance Podcast

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Rebuilding The Renaissance podcast will explore the development of the art, architecture, culture and history in Italy, from ancient Roman times through the Renaissance. Listeners will develop an understanding of Italy’s role in the development of Western civilization and an ability to appreciate and understand works of art in their historical context.

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Episodes

Episode 132 – Florence: Strozzi Palace

This podcast explores the architecture and history of one of the largest family palaces in Florence, built for the illustrious Strozzi family. After nearly a half-century of exile for their failed attempt at exiling the Medici, the fabulously wealthy banker …

Episode 131 – Florence: Rucellai Palace

This podcast examines the architecture, authorship, and history of one of Florence’s most important early Renaissance family palaces. Perhaps the most classically inspired of the 15th-century palaces in the city, the Rucellai Palace is a true Renaissance architectural gem.   …

Episode 130 – Florence (Santa Maria Novella): The Tornabuoni Chapel Frescoes by Domenico Ghirlandaio

This podcast examines the extraordinary early Renaissance fresco cycle in the family chapel of Giovanni Tornabuoni, who was the uncle of Lorenzo the Magnificent de’ Medici. It was while Ghirlandaio was working on these frescoes in Santa Maria Novella in …

Episode 129 – Leonardo da Vinci’s 2 “Virgin of the Rocks” (Paris and London)

In 1483, the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception commissioned Leonardo da Vinci and Ambrogio and Evangelista de Predis to paint an altarpiece for their chapel in the church of San Francesco Grande in Milan. Due to controversy regarding payment to …

Episode 128 – Answers to Open Questions – Part VIII

From the characters in Duccio’s and Leonardo’s Last Suppers, to Vasari’s “Lives of the Artists”, to why it took so long for the Renaissance to begin, to Raphael’s overactive sex life, this episode answers the very questions that you ask …

Episode 127 – Leonardo da Vinci’s Resume

In 1482, Leonardo da Vinci sent a letter to the then regent of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, in hopes of landing the position of court artist of the duchy of Milan. This episode will examine this letter, which is essentially the …

Episode 126 – An Interview with Maurizio Seracini -“Leonardo’s Adoration of the Magi: The Rediscovery of a Masterpiece”

For over 500 years it was believed that the brownish monochrome look of the “Adoration” was the work of Leonardo. That is, until Maurizio Seracini’s in-depth scientific analysis of 2001 proved beyond a doubt that this was not true. This …

Episode 125 – Florence: Uffizi Gallery – Leonardo da Vinci’s “Adoration of the Magi”

In 1481, Leonardo began work on a major altarpiece for the church of San Donato a Scopeto. At the same time, he sent his resume to the ruler of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, in hopes of landing the position of court …

Episode 124 – Leonardo da Vinci’s “Portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci” (National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC)

This episode will examine Leonardo’s groundbreaking portrait of a young Florentine woman named Ginevra de’ Benci, which is the only painting by the great Renaissance genius in the Americas. Exquisitely conserved, despite it being cut down, it is one of …

Episode 123 – Florence: Uffizi Gallery – Leonardo da Vinci’s “Annunciation”

This podcast will analyze Leonardo’s earliest known painting for the church of San Bartolomeo a Monte Oliveto, which he painted at only 20 years of age. Leonardo’s early works were clear indicators of his unique artistic vision and superlative talent. …

Episode 122 – Botticelli’s Muse – Simonetta Cattaneo Vespucci

This episode will attempt to unravel the mystery behind one of the world’s most famous paintings – the Birth of Venus by Botticelli. Was the artist’s muse the legendary Simonetta Cattaneo Vespucci, who is still reputed to be the most …

Episode 120 – Rome: The Sistine Chapel before Michelangelo

Decades before Michelangelo climbed up on the nearly 70 feet of scaffolding to adorn the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, a veritable “All-Star Team” of late-15th- century artists had already decorated its walls. Artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, …

Episode 119 – Florence: Uffizi Gallery – Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”

Sandro Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” is one of the most celebrated paintings in the history of art. The work depicts how the Roman goddess of love, Venus, came into being. This episode will examine the style, composition and symbolism of …

Episode 118 – Florence: Uffizi Gallery – Botticelli’s “Primavera”

When Botticelli painted the “Primavera” in the 1470s, he opened up a veritable Pandora’s Box. No longer would Renaissance artists be limited to simply dressing Christian saints in togas and sandals, they could now gradually introduce the very literature, philosophy …

Episode 117 – Answers to Open Questions – Part VII

From the functionality of Renaissance buildings, to the anatomical details in the work of Piero della Francesca, to the religious orientation of Emperor Constantine, to the authenticity of Christian relics, this episode answers the very questions that you ask me …

Episode 116 – Florence: Andrea del Verrocchio – Part II

This episode is the second part of a two-part episode about the extraordinary 15th-century Florentine artist who is best known as the master of Leonardo da Vinci. We examine Verrocchio’s later sculptures such as the “Putto with a Dolphin”, “Lady …

Episode 115 – Florence: Andrea del Verrocchio – Part I

This first part of a two-part episode examines the art and career of the extraordinary sculptor who is best known as the master of Leonardo da Vinci. Although often overshadowed by the notoriety of his pupil, Verrocchio was one of …

Episode 114 – Piero della Francesca’s Flagellation in Urbino

Kenneth Clark described Della Francesca’s painting as the “the greatest small painting in the world.” Much has been written about the enigmatic meaning of the work, including it serving as a metaphor for the fall of Constantinople. This episode examines …

Episode 113 – Piero della Francesca’s Paintings in San Sepolcro and Monterchi

This episode examines the extraordinary paintings in the second leg of the “Piero della Francesca Trail” in the Tuscan towns of San Sepolcro and Monterchi. From Piero’s majestic “Madonna della Misericordia,” to his iconic “Resurrection,” and finally to his moving …

Episode 112 – Arezzo: The Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca

This episode examines the extraordinary fresco cycle in the Basilica of San Francesco in Arezzo, Italy. Painted by Piero della Francesca beginning in 1452 in the high chapel of the church, the frescoes are one the most important painting cycles …

Episode 111 – Padua: Andrea Mantegna’s frescoes in the Church of the Eremitani

This episode examines Andrea Mantegna’s extraordinary early frescoes in the Augustinian church of the Eremitani in Padua, Italy. Despite being largely destroyed by Allied bombs in March 1944, the paintings (which have been heavily reconstructed) are still considered some of …

Episode 110 – Padua: Donatello’s “Gattamelata” and Statues in the Santo

This episode explores Donatello’s extraordinary artistic production during his sojourn in Padua during the 1440s. From his milestone Equestrian Monument to Gattamelata, to his refined bronze Crucifix, to his 3-dimensional sculptural sacra conversazione and complex perspectival bronze relief sculptures adorning the high altar of the …

Episode 109 – Florence: Equestrian Frescoes of John Hawkwood and Niccolò da Tolentino in Florence Cathedral

This episode examines the two monumental equestrian frescoes by Paolo Uccello and Andrea del Castagno in Florence cathedral that represent two celebrated mercenary captains who had honorably served the Florentine Republic in the 14th and 15th centuries. These works represent …

Episode 108 – Answers to Open Questions – Part VI

From the Crucifix in Santo Spirito attributed to Michelangelo, to ancient Roman building materials, to patronage in 15th-century Italy, to Raphael’s sex life, this episode answers the very questions that you ask me about the great art and artists of …

Episode 107 – Mantua: The Camera degli Sposi by Andrea Mantegna

This episode examines the Camera degli Sposi (1465-1474), which is Andrea Mantegna’s most famous work.  Decorating the reception room of the Marquis of Mantua, Ludovico II Gonzaga, Mantegna created an incredibly vivid “picture” of life at a Renaissance court.  In addition to the …

Episode 106 – Mantua: Basilica of Sant’Andrea

This episode examines the history and architecture of one of the milestone churches of the Renaissance that was designed by the great architect Leon Battista Alberti. Home to one of Christianity’s most important relics – the blood of Christ – …

Episode 105 – Florence: The Facade of Santa Maria Novella

This episode examines the architectural style and history of Florence’s only Renaissance-style church facade at the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, which was designed by the architect Leon Battista. From its classically-inspired forms, to the abundance of heraldic symbolism of …

Episode 104 – Florence: The Basilica of Santo Spirito – Part IV

This episode is the fourth and final episode of our examination of the construction history of Brunelleschi’s great Basilica of Santo Spirito in Florence, Italy. We look specifically at the most sensational and well-known controversy concerning the building of the …

Episode 103 – Florence: The Basilica of Santo Spirito – Part III

This episode continues to examine the construction history of Brunelleschi’s great Renaissance-style church. Based on extraordinarily detailed archival records regarding the construction of the church over nearly a decade, we are able to paint an incredibly vivid picture of how, …

Episode 102 – Florence: The Basilica of Santo Spirito – Part II

This episode continues to examine the construction history of Brunelleschi’s great Renaissance basilica. Based on the findings from my book about the church, we will examine how the various chapel types and chapel sales directly reflect the progress of construction …

Episode 101 – Florence: The Basilica of Santo Spirito

This episode explores the architecture and early building history of the Brunelleschi’s great Renaissance church. By comparing the account of Brunelleschi’s earliest biographer to the known extant archival documentation, it is clear that construction on the church began shortly before …

Episode 100 – The Writing of “Brunelleschi’s Basilica: The Building of Santo Spirito in Florence”

Join me in celebrating the 100th episode of my podcast by learning about all of the behind-the-scenes trials, tribulations, research, fortuitous moments, key figures, failures and triumphs that were part of the realization of my book, which was published in …

Episode 99 – Florence: Penitent Mary Magdalene by Donatello (Museo Dell’Opera del Duomo)

This episode examines one of the most moving and expressive sculptures in the history of art. Carved from white poplar wood, Donatello captures the meaning of ascetic spirituality by physically decimating his figure while still expressing an inner vitality in …

Episode 98 – Florence: Uffizi Gallery Early Renaissance Paintings

This episode examines those works in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, that best express the principles of Early Renaissance style painting.  From the rigid perspectival constructions of Paolo Uccello, to the sensually beautiful madonnas of Fra Lippo Lippi, to …

Episode 97 – An Interview with Nirav Tolia – Part II

This episode is the second part of my two-part interview with visionary entrepreneur, Nirav Tolia, co-founder of the social media giant Nextdoor. We argue that those principles that drive innovation and creativity in Silicon Valley today are very much the …

Episode 96 – An Interview with Nirav Tolia – Part I

This episode is the first part of a two-part interview with visionary entrepreneur, Nirav Tolia, co-founder of the social media giant Nextdoor. We discuss Nirav’s motivation for spending a year in Florence, Italy, teaching a course to Stanford University students …

Episode 95 – Florence: Chapel of the Magi (Medici Palace)

This episode examines the splendid artistic decoration of one of Florence’s best hidden gems – the Chapel of the Magi inside of the Medici Palace. Full a sumptuous materials and decorations, the walls of the chapel were beautifully painted by …

Episode 94 – Florence: The Medici Palace

This episode examines the history and architecture of the first Renaissance-style family palace in Florence, Italy. The Medici Palace was not only the home of the family, but also the seat of their political and financial power. Commissioned by Cosimo …

Episode 93 – Florence: The Medici Dynasty

Episode Info: This episode examines the rise to power and legacy of one the longest-lasting dynasties in history. From relatively modest beginnings, the Medici family became one of the most wealthy and powerful families of Renaissance Italy, as well as …

Episode 92 – Florence: Last Supper by Andrea del Castagno (Sant’Apollonia)

Episode Info: This episode analyzes one of the best-preserved and influential Renaissance paintings of the Last Supper. Located in the former refectory of a nunnery in Florence, Italy, the painting exhibits various traditional elements typical of the subject, but it also displays …

Episode 91 – Florence: The Convent of San Marco – Part II

Episode Info: This episode explores the sublime painting decoration of the great Early Renaissance painter Fra Angelico in the convent of San Marco. From his utilitarian paintings in the cloister, to the majestic Crucifixion in the chapterhouse, to his celebrated Annunciation and finally to …

Episode 90 – Florence: The Convent of San Marco – Part I

Episode Info: This episode is the first part of a two-part episode that examines the history and architecture of the first-ever Renaissance style convent. San Marco, which has been described as the most beautiful convent in all of Italy, was …

Episode 89 – Answers To Open Questions – Part V

Episode Info: This episode answers some of the questions asked directly by my listeners. From where the striping pattern on Tuscan churches comes from, to what kind of vegetal crown Donatello’s bronze David wears, to the orientation of Michelangelo’s New Sacristy, …

Episode 88 – Florence: Donatello’s Bronze “David” – Part II

Episode Info: This episode is the second part of my two-part episode about Donatello’s eclectic statue of David. It examines the unusual iconography of the statue as well as the particular homoerotic culture of Renaissance Florence.

Episode 87 – Florence: Donatello’s Bronze “David” – Part I

Episode Info: This episode is the first of a two-part episode that examines one of the most beautiful and controversial sculptures in history. In this first part, we exam the history, museum context, and unusual iconography of the sculpture.

Episode 86 – An Interview with Temple St. Clair – Part II

Episode Info: This episode is the second part of my two-part interview with celebrated jewelry designer Temple St. Clair where we learn how the beauty and traditions of Florence, Italy help shape her brilliant creations.

Episode 85 – An Interview with Temple St. Clair – Part I

Episode Info: This episode is the first of a two-part interview with world-renowned jewelry designer and good friend Temple St. Clair. Learn how the beauty, traditions and craftsmanship of Florence, Italy, played a major role in both the personal and …

Episode 84 – Florence: The Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti – Part II

Episode Info: This episode is the second part of the two-part episode dedicated to Lorenzo Ghiberti’s celebrated doors known as the “Gates of Paradise”. In this second part, we look at each individual panel to examine its style, composition and …

Episode 83 – Florence: The Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti – Part 1

Episode Info: This episode examines the history and provenance of the world’s most famous and beautiful doors – the so-called “Gates of Paradise” that were produced by Lorenzo Ghiberti between 1425-1452. Today, the Renaissance doors are one of the artistic …

Episode 82 – Florence: The Cantorie by Luca Della Robbia and Donatello (Cathedral Museum)

Episode Info: This episode examines two of the largest and most beautiful works of Early Renaissance sculpture in Florence, Italy – the Cantorie, or “choir lofts” in the Museo Dell’Opera del Duomo. Designed and carved respectively by Luca Della Robbia and Donatello, …

Episode 81 – Florence: Holy Trinity by Masaccio Part II

Episode Info: This episode analyzes the mathematics involved in the creation of the first perspectival painting in history. Learn how geometry and algebra were not only part of the construction of the three-dimensional space, but also a surprising way to …

Episode 80 – Florence: Holy Trinity by Masaccio

Episode Info: This episode will discuss what might just be the most important painting in Florence – Masaccio’s Holy Trinity in the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy. Learn how this fresco, which was the first in history …

Episode 79 – Florence: Brunelleschi’s Dome – Part II

Episode Info: This is the second part of my two-part episode about Brunelleschi and the construction of the dome of Florence cathedral. Learn how the great architect out-smarted his competitors, won the contract for and then realized the world’s largest …

Episode 78 – Florence: Brunelleschi’s Dome – Part I

Episode Info: This episode examines the history leading up to the construction of Brunelleschi’s great cupola. From the structural design of the tribunes, to the decision to add a drum, to the dilemma of wooden centering, what happened before Brunelleschi …

Episode 77: Answers to Open Questions – Part IV

Episode Info: From Donatello’s non-existent competition panel, to my favorite work of art by Michelangelo, to laser beams in art, this episode answers the very questions that you asked me about the great art of the Italian Renaissance.

Episode 76 – Florence: The Brancacci Chapel – Part II

Episode Info: This episode is the second part of a two-part episode about the Brancacci Chapel in Florence, Italy. It examines the paintings inside of the Brancacci Chapel and discusses the authorship of each, and those attributes that made Masaccio …

Episode 75 – Florence: The Brancacci Chapel – Part I

Episode Info: This episode explores the history and several key paintings of the revolutionary Brancacci Chapel in the church of Santa Maria Del Carmine in Florence, Italy. There is no better place in the world in which to illustrate the …

Episode 74 – An Interview with Ross King – Part II

Episode Info: In part 2 of my conversation with best-selling author Ross King, we discuss one of his later works entitled Leonardo and the Last Supper, as well as his upcoming publication The Bookseller of Florence, about famous Renaissance book …

Episode 73 – An Interview with Ross King – Part 1

Episode Info: This episode is the first of a two-part interview with best-selling author Ross King, author of Brunelleschi’s Dome, Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling and other works addressing Renaissance subject matter.

Episode 72 – Florence: Brunelleschi and the Basilica of San Lorenzo

Episode Info: This episode examines the construction history and architecture of the first Renaissance-style church ever built – the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence, Italy – which was designed by the great Filippo Brunelleschi. From modular systems, to the …

Episode 71 – Theory – Florence: Brunelleschi’s Old Sacristy

Episode Info: This episode examines the first Renaissance-style interior space ever built, which is known as the “Old Sacristy” in San Lorenzo in Florence. Designed by the great Filippo Brunelleschi, the revolutionary space also served as the funerary chapel of …

Episode 70 – Theory – Classical Architectural Vocabulary

Episode Info: This episode examines the names and meanings of various Classical architectural structures and elements that were employed by Renaissance architects from Brunelleschi to Michelangelo.

Episode 69 – 360° With Dr. Peter Weller – Part II

Episode Info: This episode is the second part of my interview with celebrated Hollywood actor Dr. Peter Weller, where we discuss the subject of his doctorate, Italian food, and his acting career. Find out how the Renaissance man still finds …

Episode 68 – 360° With Dr. Peter Weller – Part I

Episode Info: This episode is the first of a two-part interview with the famous actor Peter Weller, who has starred in over 70 films and television programs, but who also holds a doctorate in Renaissance art history. Find out how …

Episode 67 – Florence: Brunelleschi and the Hospital of the Innocents

Episode Info: This episode examines the early part of Brunelleschi’s career and his first major architectural project. His revival of a Classical architectural vocabulary and logic revolutionized architecture in the late medieval European world, and would establish this new style …

Episode 66 – Florence: Donatello’s Crucifix and Prophet Statues (S. Croce/Museo Del Opera)

Episode Info: This episode explores how Donatello revolutionized sculpture in the early 15th century by using three of his most famous works to illustrate his new visual language of naturalism.

Episode 65 – Venice: The Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge

Episode Info: This episode explores the history and architecture of Venice’s most important thoroughfare and its surrounding churches and palaces, as well as one of the world’s most celebrated bridges – the Rialto – that has spanned the Grand Canal …

Episode 64 – Venice: Basilica of St. Mark and Doge’s Palace

Episode Info: This episode examines the history, architecture and importance of Italy’s most unique church. An example of Italo-Byzantine architecture, St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy, was built primarily to house the relics of the evangelist and to serve as the …

Episode 63: Answers to Open Questions – Part III

Episode Info: This episode answers our third round of general questions. From dinner with historical personages, to my favorite restaurants and dishes in Italy, to saving Venice and its art, all the way down to how much “Leonardo” there is …

Episode 62 – Florence: Donatello’s St. George (Bargello)

Episode Info: This episode examines Donatello’s sculptural representation of the St. George subject for the Sword and Armor Guild at the church of Orsanmichele, although both sculpture and niche are in the Bargello Museum today. Not only was this first …

Episode 61: Florence – Donatello’s Marble “David” (Bargello)

Episode Info: This episode examines Donatello’s seminal heroic interpretation of the “David” subject in sculpture. Removed from its original context at the Duomo and inserted into a civic setting at the Palazzo Vecchio, the statue became the symbol of divine …

Episode 60: Florence – Cathedral Facade Sculptures

Episode Info: This episode examines the statues that were produced by the likes of Arnolfo Di Cambio, Nanni Di Banco and Donatello and adorned the original facade of Florence cathedral. These extraordinary statues reflect the transition from the International Gothic …

Episode 59 – Venice: La Serenissma – The History of the Republic

Episode Info: This episode explores the history of the world’s most unique city and the organization of the longest lasting republic of all time. From the original refugees who settled on the islands in the ancient world, to the theft …

Episode 58 – Florence: Uffizi Gallery: International Gothic Style Paintings

Episode Info: This episode explores the paintings in the Uffizi Gallery collection that best embody the principles of that style that marks the transition between the Gothic and Renaissance worlds, known as the “International Gothic Style.” This style combines the …

Episode 57: Florence – North Doors of Florence Baptistry

Episode Info: This episode examines the “North Doors” of Florence Baptistry that were produced by Lorenzo Ghiberti between 1403-1423 as a result of the famous competition of 1401 won by the same artist. The same International Gothic Style attributes that …

Episode 56: Florence – Competition Panels (Bargello)

Episode Info: This episode examines the event that sparked the Renaissance – the famous competition between Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi in 1401 for the contract for a set of bronze doors of Florence Baptistry. These two Renaissance giants produced …

Episode 55: Answers to Open Questions – Part II

Episode Info: This episode will answer many of the questions proposed by my listeners. From how the frescoes on the dome of Florence cathedral were executed, to how the artist Caravaggio died, to the Kenneth Clark vs. John Berger controversy …

Episode 54: Florence: Santa Maria Novella – Strozzi Chapel

Episode Info: This episode examines the beautiful pictorial decorations in the 14th-century Strozzi Chapel in Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy by the brothers Andrea (better known as “Orcagna”) and Nardo di Cione. Almost perfectly preserved after eight centuries, the …

Episode 53: Saints and Symbols

Episode Info: This episode examines the sometimes violent, often bizarre, and always fascinating representations of saints and martyrs in Italian medieval and Renaissance art. From St. Sebastian’s arrows to St. Lucy’s eyeballs to St. Lawrence’s barbecue grill, we shall discuss …

Episode 52 – Siena: Cathedral Pulpit by Nicola Pisano

Episode Info: This episode examines Nicola Pisano’s great sculptural pulpit in the cathedral in Siena, Italy. Carved five years after his pulpit in Pisa Baptistry, this work is much more Gothic in style, reflecting its highly decorative architectural surroundings. Yet, …

Episode 51: Florence – Uffizi Gallery – Medieval Paintings

Episode Info: This episode examines the medieval paintings in the extraordinary collection of paintings in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. Works by Giotto, Simone Martini and Ambrogio Lorenzetti exemplify the move towards naturalism in this proto-Renaissance moment.

Episode 50 – 50th Episode Celebration!

Episode Info: This milestone episode celebrates the production of my 50th episode by telling you more about who I am, what I do, why I do it and I how I got there from both a personal and professional perspective.

Episode 49 – A Renaissance Christmas

Episode Info: This holiday episode explores the history and traditions of the world’s most popular holiday – Christmas! From St. Nick to Jesus’ infancy to candy canes, we discuss how both pagan and Christian traditions magically coalesced into the holiday …

Episode 48: Florence – San Miniato al Monte

Episode Info: This episode explores the history and examines the architecture of one of the most unique churches of medieval Europe. Consecrated in 1018 CE, the thousand-year-old Romanesque church of San Miniato in Florence, Italy houses an eclectic mix of …

Episode 47: Pisa – Baptistry Pulpit by Nicola Pisano

Episode Info: This episode examines one of the most extraordinary sculptures of the Middle Ages. Nicola Pisano revolutionized sculpture in the 13th century by introducing drama, psychology, classical motifs, anatomy and movement. Although few works exist by the great sculptor, …

Episode 46: Pisa – The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Episode Info: This episode explores the great Romanesque architectural monuments of the Tuscan city of Pisa. From its majestic marble cathedral, to its elegant circular baptistry, to what I like to call the greatest architectural disaster since Babylon – the …

Episode 45: Florence – The Baptistry Part II – Mosaics

Episode Info: This episode will examine the breathtaking mosaics that decorate the ceiling of Florence Baptistry. Epic in scale and subject matter, and excruciatingly meticulous in execution, the mosaics represent one of the greatest works of art of medieval Europe …

Episode 44: Florence – The Baptistry – Part I

Episode Info: This episode explores the history and architecture of what is, in local tradition, the most important monument in Florence, Italy. Nearly a millennium old, the Romanesque building has always been the heart of Florentine society and tradition.

Episode 43: Answers To Open Questions – Part I

Episode Info: This episode will answer the questions posed by various listeners on our social media platforms. From what sparked my own interest in the Renaissance, to whether Giotto or Michelangelo was more influential in shaping Renaissance art, all the …

Episode 42: Theory – Bronze Sculpture

Episode Info: This episode will examine the technique of bronze sculpture. From the making of the initial model, to the casting of the bronze, all the way down to the signature patination of the sculpture by the artist, discover just went …

Episode 41 – Theory: Marble Sculpture

Episode Info: This episode examines the sculptural medium of marble and how artists worked the stone. From the quarries of Carrara to the various tools used by the sculptor, we discover just what goes into producing a sculptural masterpiece in …

Episode 40 – Florence: Statues at Orsanmichele

Episode Info: This episode examines the extraordinary collection of statues on the outside of the church of Orsanmichele in Florence, Italy. Produced by some of the greatest artists of the Renaissance, such as Donatello, Ghiberti and Verrocchio, each statue reflects …

Episode 39 – Florence: Orsanmichele

Episode Info: This episode recounts the history behind the medieval–grain–market–turned–church of Orsanmichele in Florence, Italy. The building has always reflected the bustling commercial character of the city, first as a marketplace for grain and then as its official guild church.

Episode 38 – Florence: Ponte Vecchio and the Vasari Corridor

Episode Info: This episode explores the history and evolution of one of the world’s most famous bridges – the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. From ancient Roman times through to today, the bridge has served as a means of passage …

Episode 37 – Florence: Santa Maria Novella – The Spanish Chapel – Part II

Episode Info: This episode examines the beautiful fresco decoration inside of the Spanish Chapel in the convent of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy. These paintings are not only prime examples of art produced in the wake of the Black …

Episode 36: Florence: Santa Maria Novella – The Spanish Chapel – Part I

Episode Info: This episode examines the history and patronage of one of the great medieval churches of Florence: Santa Maria Novella. The seat of the Dominican Order in Florence, the rather severe style of the art in this church reflects …

Episode 35: San Gimignano: Black Death Paintings in the Collegiata

Episode Info: This episode examines one of the most sinister and violent fresco cycles of the Middle Ages in the cathedral or “Collegiata” of the Tuscan town of San Gimignano. Attributed to a mysterious artist named Barna Da Siena, the …

Episode 34: European History: The Black Death Part II

Episode Info: This episode examines the consequences of the Black Death on medieval European society. From religion, to economics, to art, the Black Death would forever change Europe and in many ways prepare the way for the coming of the …

Episode 33: European History: The Black Death Part I

Episode Info: This episode addresses one of the greatest natural calamities in human history – the Black Death. This “mother of all plagues” wiped out 1/3 of Europe’s population over just a couple of years and left an indelible mark …

Episode 32 – Padua – The Scrovegni Chapel Part 4: The Passion of Jesus Christ

Episode Info: This episode is the fourth and final episode addressing the extraordinary frescoes by Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy. The paintings in this episode represent the climax of the visual narrative and depict the story of …

Episode 31: Padua – The Scrovegni Chapel Part 3: The Life and Mission of Jesus Christ

Episode Info: This episode examines the extraordinary visual representations of the “Life of Jesus Christ” created by the visionary painter Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy in the early 14th century.

Episode 30: Padua – The Scrovegni Chapel Part 2: The Last Judgement and the Life of the Virgin Mary

Episode Info: This episode will examine two of the extraordinary themes depicted in Giotto’s paintings in the Scrovegni Chapel: the surprisingly optimistic Last Judgement, and the startlingly cinematic Life of the Virgin Mary.

Episode 29: Padua – The Scrovegni Chapel Part 1: History

Episode Info: This episode will address the history of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy from its construction, to its patronage, to its decoration by the great painter Giotto. We will also discuss the modern system of conservation employed at …

Episode 28: Florence – Florence Cathedral

Episode Info: This episode will examine the architecture and explore the epic construction history of one of the largest and most beautiful churches in the world.

Episode 27: Siena – Palio

Episode Info: This episode will explore the thrilling horserace known as the Palio that takes place in the central medieval square of Siena twice a year. Winning the race is the most important objective of every Sienese person, and we …

Episode 26: Siena – The Allegory of Good and Bad Government

Episode Info: This episode will examine one of the most timeless and politically enlightening works of art of all time – Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good and Bad Government – which clearly reveals that the governing principles of an effective …

Episode 25: Siena – The Day the Virgin Mary Got into Politics (Simone Martini’s Maestà)

Episode Info: This episode will examine Simone Martini’s mural of the Maestà in the Hall of the Great Council in Siena’s town hall, known as the Palazzo Pubblico. The painting represents a milestone moment in the history of art where …

Episode 24: Siena – The Palazzo Pubblico and Piazza del Campo

Episode Info: This episode will analyze the history and architecture of the medieval town hall of Siena known as the Palazzo Pubblico, which was one of the seminal civic structures in Europe. We shall also examine what has been described …

Episode 23: Siena – City of the Virgin Mary (Battle of Montaperti/Duccio’s Maestà)

Episode Info: This episode examines the very special relationship that Siena has with the Virgin Mary and how this privileged relationship came about. We shall also discuss one of the most important paintings in the history of art – Duccio’s …

Episode 22: Siena – Siena Cathedral

Episode Info: This podcast will recount the extraordinary construction history and examine the striking architecture of one of the world’s most beautiful churches – the cathedral of Siena.

Episode 21: Siena – The Foundation Myth

Episode Info: This episode recounts the foundation myth of the great Tuscan city of Siena and how 14th-century Sienese government officials claimed to have discovered a document that traced Siena’s ancestry all the way back to Ancient Rome – but …

Episode 20: Theory – Put it in a Box – Defining the Periods in Western Art History

Episode Info: In this episode, I lay out the terms and dates of the major western historical and art historical periods, and various works of art and architecture with which they can be identified.

Episode 19: Theory – Stick it on a Wall – The Art of Fresco Painting

Episode Info: This podcast will explain the technique of fresco painting, the various advantages and disadvantages of this millennia-old method, as well as famous examples of this medium from the Renaissance.

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Episode 18: Florence – Giotto’s Frescoes in Santa Croce

Episode Info: This episode will analyze Giotto’s frescoes of “The Life of St. Francis” in the Bardi Chapel in Santa Croce. Giotto’s introduction of  naturalism, psychology, movement, emotion, and drama into his paintings was a groundbreaking innovation for medieval painting.

Episode 17: Florence – Celebrity Tombs in Santa Croce

Episode Info: This episode explores and examines what is arguably the world’s most impressive collection of celebrity tombs that is housed in the great Franciscan basilica, including the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli.

Episode 16: Florence – The Basilica of Santa Croce

Episode Info: This episode explores the history and architecture of this great church in Florence, Italy and how the social and economic forces of medieval Florence contributed to making it the largest Franciscan church in the world.

Episode 15: Assisi – The Day the Earth Shook

Episode Info: This very personal podcast recounts my harrowing experience inside of the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi when a severe earthquake struck the town in 1997 causing several vaults to collapse inside the Upper Basilica and killing four …

Episode 14: Assisi – The Basilica of San Francesco

Episode Info: This episode examines the history, architecture and decoration of great shrine to St. Francis in Assisi that was decorated by a veritable all-star team of late-13th/early-14th-century artists such as Cimabue, Simone Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti and perhaps even Giotto. …

Episode 13: Assisi – St. Francis of Assisi – How A Little Man Changed The World

Episode Info: This episode will examine the extraordinary life of one of the greatest revolutionaries in Western history: St. Francis of Assisi. It will also discuss how St. Francis’ revolutionary natural philosophy may have sparked the historical movement known as …

Episode 12: Florence – Speaking Statues in Piazza della Signoria

Episode Info: This episode will examine the extraordinary collection of sculptures in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy. From Donatello’s “Judith and Holofernes’ to Michelangelo’s “David” to Cellini’s “Perseus and Medusa”, each sculpture represents a chapter in the extraordinary …

Episode 11: Florence – Palazzo Vecchio

Episode Info: This episode will analyze the architecture of the building that was the seat of political power in medieval Florence – the Palazzo Vecchio – and the historical circumstances that led to its construction.

Rebuilding the Renaissance Podcast

Episode 10: Florence – Out of Darkness

Episode Info: This episode will trace the historical evolution of Europe from the fall of the Roman Empire through Charlemagne and the creation of the Holy Roman Empire and finally to the rise of medieval city-states in Italy with particular …

Rebuilding the Renaissance Podcast

Episode 9: Florence – Historical Origins

Episode Info: This podcast will examine the ancient Roman origins of the city of Florence and trace its urban development from its foundation in 59 B.C. to the modern city that we see today.

Rebuilding the Renaissance Podcast

Episode 8: Ravenna – The Byzantine Empire Strikes Back

Episode Info: This podcast will examine the transformation of a provincial Italian town named Ravenna into an Imperial capital and how the Byzantine Emperor Justinian sought to recapture the western half of his empire.

Rebuilding the Renaissance Podcast

Episode 7: Rome – Constantine and Christianity

Episode Info: This episode will address the rise of Christianity in the Roman world and the critical role that Emperor Constantine played in its success and changing the world forever.

Rebuilding the Renaissance Podcast

Episode 6: Rome – The Pantheon

Episode Info: In this episode, we examine and analyze the ancient Roman temple that has been described as the most perfectly designed architectural monument in history.

Rebuilding the Renaissance Podcast

Episode 5: Rome – Bread and Circus

Episode Info: This episode examines that most decadent period in ancient Roman history when emperors provided both lavish foods and spectacular entertainment to the citizens of Rome.

Rebuilding the Renaissance Podcast

Episode 4: Rome – Blood Sport

Episode Info: In this episode we examine the jaw-dropping spectacles and bloody contests that took place inside of the Colosseum.

Rebuilding the Renaissance Podcast

Episode 3: Rome – The Colosseum

Episode Info: This episode analyzes the architecture and reconstructs the engineering marvels of the mother of all amphitheaters.

Rebuilding the Renaissance Podcast

Episode 2: Rome – Julius Caesar and the Dawn of Empire

Episode Info: This episode recounts and analyzes the rise to power of Julius Caesar and the transformation of the Roman Republic into an Empire.

Rebuilding the Renaissance Podcast

Episode 1: Rome – The Foundation Myth

Episode Info: This episode examines the foundation myth of Ancient Rome and how it reflects those critical historical and social factors that contributed to making Rome the most absolute empire in history.

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