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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 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...
Episode 221 – Michelangelo’s Tomb (Santa Croce, Florence)
Although he died in Rome, the nearly-89-year-old Michelangelo was buried in a tomb in the great Franciscan Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, Italy. Discover the tomb monument that celebrates the genius of the divine artist in this episode....
Episode 216 – Michelangelo’s “Conversion of St. Paul” (Pauline Chapel)
Even before completing “The Last Judgment” in the Sistine Chapel, Pope Paul III had chosen Michelangelo to decorate the walls of his new namesake chapel – the Pauline Chapel. Used as an antechamber to the Sistine Chapel, the Pauline Chapel contains Michelangelo’s last two paintings. This epi...
Episode 215 – Cellini’s “Perseus with the Head of Medusa” (Florence)
In 1545, the goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini was commissioned by Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici to create a large bronze statue of the Greek hero Perseus and Medusa. The resulting work was one of the most beautiful and famous of the Renaissance. This episode examines the history, style, and importance of Ce...
Episode 214 – Answers to Open Questions Part XVI
From the type of snake that appears in Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment,” to the suspected poisoning of Pico dell Mirandola and Angelo Poliziano, to Lorenzo Lotto’s unorthodox “Annunciation,” to Brunelleschi’s role in the development of linear perspective, and much, much more - this episo...
Episode 213 – Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library in Florence Part III
This episode analyzes the extraordinary reading room of Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library in Florence, Italy. Faced with having to reduce the weight of the building, Michelangelo designed a type of structural cage into which he inserted layered walls, elegant architectural elements, and handsome f...
Episode 212 – Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library in Florence Part II
This episode analyzes Michelangelo’s visionary architectural design for the vestibule - better known as the “Ricetto” – of the Laurentian Library. Dominated by the famous staircase which Michelangelo claimed appeared to him in a dream, the space perfectly expresses Michelangelo’s radical n...
Episode 211 – Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library in Florence Part I
In 1524, the Medici Pope Clement VII asked Michelangelo to design and build a new library to house the extraordinary collection of manuscripts and books owned by the family. The logical location was the Medici-sponsored complex of San Lorenzo. This episode analyzes the construction history of the li...
Episode 210 – Baccio Bandinelli’s “Hercules and Cacus” (Florence)
Although the commission was originally given to Michelangelo in 1508, the eventual carving of the sculpture fell into the lesser hands of Baccio Bandinelli. Symbolic of the new authoritative Medici regime and rule over the city, the sculpture was a strong man image intended to warn Florentines of th...
Episode 209 – Michelangelo’s Last Judgment Part IV
This final episode dedicated to Michelangelo’s great fresco on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel addresses the controversy surrounding the explicit nudity in the painting. When formal protests by high-ranking figures in the papal court were made, Michelangelo responded by including one of their...
Episode 208 – Michelangelo’s Last Judgment Part III
This episode analyzes the majestic composition and singular iconography of Michelangelo’s fresco on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. From the lack of any architectural elements to the use of ambiguous saint imagery, Michelangelo introduced a revolutionary and surprisingly modern way to repres...
Episode 207 – Michelangelo’s Last Judgment Part II
To create a suitable surface for Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment,” major alterations were made to the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. This episode examines those physical preparations, as well as the art that was lost in order to make way for Michelangelo’s great fresco. It also surveys earl...
Episode 206 – Michelangelo’s Last Judgment Part I
Twenty-four years after completing its ceiling, Michelangelo returned to the Sistine Chapel to paint its altar wall. His gigantic “Last Judgment” took five years to complete and scandalized Rome as many of its holy characters were depicted in the nude. This podcast examines the history of the c...
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Young Presidents' Organization
Friends of the Uffizi Gallery
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Palazzo Tornabuoni
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