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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 about the great art, artists and history of the Italian Renaissance.…
 
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 with a Primrose" and his "Equestrian Monument to Bartolomeo Colleoni" in Venice, Italy. We also discuss …
 
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 the most significant sculptors in history. He was also one of the most influential artists of the Renaissance as other …
 
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 the iconography of the famous painting and its various interpretations.…
 
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 fresco of "The Madonna del Parto," learn about Piero's works in southeastern Tuscany, …
 
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 of the early Renaissance and one of the artist's best-known works.…
 
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.…
 
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, Donate…
 
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 si…
 
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 fres…
 
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 …
 
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 c…
 
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 …
 
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. W…
 
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.…
 
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.
 
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.…
 
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 pai…
 
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.…
 
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 …
 
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 Medi…
 
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."…
 
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.
 
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 the mystical frescoes in the dormitory cells, San Marco is a veritable s…
 
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, to angry looking figures in the Scrovegni Chapel, you can hear me answer your questions.…
 
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 iconography, where we discover Ghiberti was indeed a master visual storyteller.…
 
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 gems of the Museo Dell'Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Museum) in Florence, Italy.…
 
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, each work is a visual celebration of song and music.…
 
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 to apply linear perspective, was lost in the 16th Century when the church was "Renaissanced" by Giorgio Vasari and then rediscov…
 
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 dome in only 16 years. Then discover the secrets of how Brunelleschi was able to pull off such an extraordinar…
 
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 began building determined much of what he would need to do in order to build the world's largest dome.…
 
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 evolution of late Gothic to Early Renaissance than this chapel. It was here that the young genius named Masaccio introduced wh…
 
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 use of classical architectural vocabulary, to harmony and proportion, Brunelleschi made the old new aga…
 
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