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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.
Episodes
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...
Episode 205 – Titian’s “Penitent Magdalene” (Pitti Palace)
In 1531, Titian painted the incredibly sensuous image of Mary Magdalene for Duke Federico II of Mantua who, in turn, gifted it to the celebrated poetess Vittoria Colonna. By combining the two best-known versions of Mary Magdalene – prostitute and penitent – Titian produced a profound image of sp...
Episode 204 – Titian’s “Venus of Urbino” (Uffizi Galleries)
Titian was the greatest Venetian painter of his age. His reputation and achievements in 16th-century Europe were rivaled only by Michelangelo. Venetian artists introduced their own particular style and vision into Renaissance art, as seen in the Venus of Urbino. Suddenly, female nudity and eroticis...
Episode 203 – Answers To Open Questions Part 15
From the accuracy of Vasari's "Lives," the dark skin tones of medieval paintings, why Last Suppers appear where they do, whether Caravaggio can be considered a Renaissance artist, and much, much more - this episode answers the very questions that you ask me about the great art, artists and history...
Episode 202 – Palazzo Te in Mantua – Part IV (The Room of the Giants)
Giulio Romano's "Room of the Giants" in the Palazzo Te is one of the most dramatic and unique pictorial cycles in history. Depicting the fall of the Titans to the Olympian gods, the colossal-scale figures, rounded corners, and illusionistic architecture create a veritable sense of virtual reality....
Episode 201 – Palazzo Te in Mantua – Part III (The Room of Psyche)
The Room of Psyche in the Palazzo Te in Mantua, Italy, is one of the most erotic pictorial cycles of the Renaissance. From the 9 ceiling paintings that depict the story of Cupid and Psyche, to the lunettes depicting the labors of Psyche, to the wall paintings depicting examples of divine and bestial...
Episode 200 – 200th Episode Celebration!
This milestone celebrates the production of the 200th episode of the Rebuilding the Renaissance podcast. Looking back at the approximately two millennia that we have covered thus far, the various special guests who have appeared in the series, and the particularly important specific episodes, this e...
Episode 199 – The Palazzo Te in Mantua Part II
The pictorial decoration inside of the Palazzo Te in Mantua, Italy, is some of the most inventive and delightful imagery of the Italian Renaissance. From the Room of Ovid, with representations of episodes from the "Metamorphoses," to the Room of the Imprese, with its many coat of arms and playful su...
Episode 198 – The Palazzo Te in Mantua
The Palazzo Te (1526-1535) was both designed and decorated by the great Mannerist artist and pupil of Raphael, Giulio Romano.  Built for the Marquis-turned-Duke of Mantua, Federico II Gonzaga, every detail of the building was intended to delight the visitor. This episode explores the history and ar...
Episode 197 – Correggio’s “Danaë”
Located in the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Correggio's sensual painting of the amorous relationship between Jupiter and the daughter of the King of Argos is sublime. Based on the account in Ovid's "Metamorphoses,'' Correggio is able to transform a literary metaphor into an equally powerful and erotic ...
Episode 196 – Correggio’s Dome Frescoes in Parma Cathedral
Correggio’s breath-taking dome fresco in the dome of Parma cathedral depicts the Assumption of the Virgin (1526). Gigantic painted figures of the apostles stand below an explosion of heavenly clouds and hundreds of angels that create a celestial architecture upon which the Virgin Mary is assum...
Episode 195 – Correggio’s Paintings in the National Gallery of Parma
Parma's National Gallery of Painting houses one of Italy's most important collections of medieval and Renaissance paintings. Amongst its treasures are several altarpieces by the great Correggio. This episode examines these extraordinary paintings and their expressive emotional power, which has inspi...
Episode 194 – Correggio’s Dome Fresco in San Giovanni Evangelista in Parma
After decorating the apartment of a Benedictine abbess, Correggio was called by the nearby Benedictine monks of Parma to decorate their church of San Giovanni Evangelista. The most spectacular of the paintings is the illusionist dome fresco depicting Jesus and the Apostles in dramatic di sotto in s...
Episode 193 – Correggio’s “Camera di San Paolo” in Parma
The Camera di San Paolo (1519) was Correggio’s first major commission in Parma. In the private quarters of a Benedictine abbess named Giovanna Piacenza, he executed a decorative fresco program filled with mythological and festive motifs. The particularly beautiful illusionistic ceiling decoration ...
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National Geographic
Young Presidents' Organization
CEO
Friends of the Uffizi Gallery
Eataly
Syracuse University
Palazzo Tornabuoni
Ohio Kent State University
Boston College

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