Rebuilding The Renaissance

Rebuilding The Renaissance

This 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.... Show More

Episodes

March 3, 2021 22 min

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 the most important expressions of early Renaissance painting. 

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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 basilica, Donatello once again demonstrates his almost unlimited and unparalleled range of artist...

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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 two of the earliest Renaissance revivals of memorial equestrian imagery since Antiquity.

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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 the Italian Renaissance.

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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 various portraits of the royal family that Mantegna included in his fresco, he also captured the less "noble" elements of court life such as the dw...

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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 Christianity's most important relics - the blood of Christ - the ruler of Mantua, Ludovico Gonzaga, wanted Alberti to design a Classically-inspired church that would be a fitting monument to such an important holy object. 

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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 both the Rucellai and Medici families, all the way to the inscription celebrating the patron of the facade, the facade is a perfect reflection of the be...

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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 church regarding how many doors should have been incorporated into the facade of the church. A controversy that was brought all the way to Lorenzo il Magnifico de'...

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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, literally, brick by brick and column by column the church was built. We also discuss some of the most important deviations made from Brunelleschi's...

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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 at Santo Spirito. 

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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 the architect's death. 

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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 September 2020. 

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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 this extraordinarily modern-looking statue.

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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 the iconic portraits of the duke and duchess of Urbino, we trace the evolution of painting from the Gothic to the Renaissance world.  

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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 same ones that drove the cultural revolution in Florence five centuries ago.

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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 about the similarities between the technological revolution of Silicon Valley and the cultural revolution of Renaissance Florence. 

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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 Benozzo Gozzoli in 1459 depicting the voyage of the Magi and filled with contemporary portraits of the Medici and their allies.

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November 4, 2020 30 min

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 de' Medici, the palace was an integral part of the great man's "theory of magnificence."

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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 great patrons of the arts.

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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 numerous innovations. 

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