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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.
Episode 253 – Caravaggio and the Contarelli Chapel
Only July 23, 1599, Caravaggio signed the contract with the heirs of Cardinal Matthieu Cointerel (“Contarelli” in Italian) to produce three paintings for their family chapel in the official French church of Rome called San Luigi dei Francesi. This episode examines the history of the church, chap...
Episode 251 – Caravaggio’s Paintings in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence
The Uffizi Gallery in Florence contains three paintings by Caravaggio. Two of them, the “Bacchus” and “The Medusa Shield” were sent by Cardinal Del Monte to Grand Duke Ferdinand de’ Medici, while the third, the “Sacrifice of Isaac,” was acquired later. All three paintings reflect Carav...
Episode 249 – The Life of Caravaggio – The Cursed Painter
Known as the “pittore maledetto” – or the “cursed painter”, Caravaggio not only revolutionized painting at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries with his “hyper-realistic” style, but he also literally turned Rome on its head with his often-criminal behavior. Spending much of his time...
Episode 248 – Answers to Open Questions XVIII
From the water source of the Neptune Fountain in Florence, to the animal symbolism of the Nativity subject, to the restorations of Masacccio’s Brancacci Chapel and “Holy Trinity,” to how Leonardo’s notebook ended up in the Windsor collection, to the accuracy of historical fiction movie and t...
Episode 247 – Titian’s “Pietà” (Accademia Gallery, Venice)
Left unfinished at this death in 1576, Titian’s “Pietà” was intended to serve as his funerary monument. Its extreme use of loose brushstroke and unconventional color combinations led one art historian to describe the painting as an example of “chromatic alchemy.”  ...
Episode 246 – Titian’s “Crowning with Thorns” (Alte Pinakothek, Munich)
Painted in the last year’s of Titian’s life, the “Crowning with Thorns” in Munich revisited a theme that he painted 30 years earlier in a painting today located in the Louvre in Paris. Examined side by side, there is perhaps no better way to demonstrate the dramatic evolution of Titian’s s...
Episode 243 – Paolo Veronese’s “Wedding Feast at Cana” (Louvre, Paris)
In 1562, Veronese was commissioned to paint a massive painting of the “Wedding Feast at Cana” to adorn the end wall of the refectory of the Benedictine monastery of San Giorgio in Venice, Italy. What he produced was an extraordinary impression of typical Venetian revelry in the late 16th century...
Episode 242 – Paolo Veronese’s Church of San Sebastiano in Venice
Paolo Veronese is the third member of the great Venetian late Renaissance trio that also includes Titian and Tintoretto. The church of San Sebastiano in Venice was decorated over 15 years with paintings exclusively by Veronese and is a veritable shrine to the genius of this great painter.  ...
Episode 239 – Tintoretto’s Scuola di San Rocco P. 3 (The Albergo Paintings)
Tintoretto’s paintings in the Albergo (board room) of the Scuola of San Rocco are dramatic representations of the Passion of Jesus Christ. From his tragic “Ecce Homo” all the way to his Hollywood-style “Crucifixion,” Tintoretto produced some of the most innovative and theatrical paintings ...
Episode 237 – Tintoretto’s Scuola of San Rocco (Venice)
The Scuola Grande of San Rocco in Venice, Italy, is the only active “scuola,” or confraternity, in the city. It has maintained its original appearance and magnificent decoration – nearly all of which was by Tintoretto - for the last five centuries. This podcast explores the history of the scuo...
Episode 236 – Answers to Open Questions XVII
From the original location and patron of Donatello’s “Mary Magdalene,”  to the influence of Giotto on Taddeo Gaddi, to the original meeting hall of the Florentine government, to the dome of St. Peter’s, to the authenticity of the recently discovered “Flaget Madonna” attributed by some t...
Episode 235 – Gallery of the Maps (Vatican Museums)
Stretching 120m in length with its walls covered entirely in 16th century maps of various Italian city states, principalities, and islands, the Gallery of the Maps is one of the most spectacular spaces in the Vatican Museums.    ...
Episode 233 – Vasari’s “Last Judgment” (Florence Cathedral)
The dome frescoes of Florence Cathedral cover nearly an acre of dome surface, making it the world’s largest fresco. Begun by Giorgio Vasari in 1572 and completed by Federico Zuccari in 1579, the main subject of the fresco is the Last Judgment and incudes some strikingly graphic imagery in the Hell...
Episode 227 – Titian’s “Venus and Adonis” (Prado Museum, Madrid)
Part of Titian’s six mythological paintings for King Philip II of Spain known as the “Poesie,” the innovative and sensual “Venus and Adonis” was the most popular. We know this because some 30 versions of the painting exist today, all of which can be traced back to 2 main prime types – th...
Episode 226 – Titian’s “Danaë” (Capodimonte Museum, Naples)
In 1544, Titian produced the first of at least six versions of the Danaë subject for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, nephew of Pope Paul III. Shortly thereafter, a second version was painted and sent to King Phillip II of Spain. The immense popularity of Titian’s sensual painting style combined with...
Episode 225 – Titian’s “Poesie” Paintings
Titian’s six “poesie” – or “painted poems” – depict subjects from classical mythology and were painted for King Philip II of Spain. The paintings represent a landmark in the history of western art and exemplify the Venetian master’s late style that was characterized by dramatic subj...
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