The amazing BBC series Renaissance by Andrew Grahm-Dixon continues with episode 5, Of Liberty and Light which tells of Venice, settled during the Dark Ages by worried Romans escaping Hun invaders.
But how to describe it? A cross cultural mash-up of a city built on 118 small islands laced by bridges and canals on the marshy Adriatic coastline. Europe’s trade portal with the east — Constantinople, the Middle East and all of Asia. Home of political and artistic freedom, open learning and a few wickedly good painters like Giorgione, Giovanni Bellini and especially Tizianno Vecelli (“Titian”) whose work found favor with King Charles V of Spain — and influenced the fine arts painting of Europe for the next 300 years. He’s continued to influence artists to this day and Titian enjoyed more ‘success’ in his lifetime than did Michelangelo, Raphael and DaVinci lumped together.
Michelangelo’s and Raphael’s painting commissions were just a part of Pope Julius II’s massive rebuilding of the Vatican with its already ginormous St. Peter’s Cathedral. Much of this new art illustrated messages from the Book of Revelation warning of false Messiahs (read: anyone evil enough to criticize Rome’s church) and the rapidly approaching Judgment Day.
In the part 4 episode Apocalypse, from Andrew Graham-Dixon’s 1999 BBC series Renaissance Graham-Dixon explores the high point of the artistic Renaissance, from the glory of “Raphael’s Rooms” to the 95 Theses posted by Martin Luther on the door of the All Saints Church in Wittenburg, Saxony in 1517. Pope Julius and subsequent popes were right to be worried. End of Days was indeed near for the Roman Catholic monopoly over minds (and art) in Europe. Click on the image to see the video on YouTube.
This fascinating part 2 episode of the BBC series, Renaissance by art historian and broadcaster Andrew Graham-Dixon develops the conceit of the Gift the Magi, the Christmas story celebrated not only by Renaissance artists but the nobles and patrons who hired them to adorn their palaces, grottos and libraries — the Medicis, Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, Federico da Montefeltro and Isabella d’Este — as painting craft ascended to the status of intellectual pursuit, like music, mathematics and philosophy. It’s a strange journey, culminating in a nod to the quintessential magi of the age: Leonardo da Vinci. http://youtu.be/cSP20-hDQ_8
This part 2 episode of the BBC series, Renaissance by art historian and broadcaster Andrew Graham-Dixon explores a place that was a state of mind as much a place. It started out as a Roman military town, grew into a medieval trade and banking center and then a cultural/intellectual forge that helped to shape the West with ideas like Humanism, post-Athenian democracy, corporate sponsorship of the arts, and linear perspective. Petrarch, Bruni, Giotto, Pisano, The Medicis, Savonarola, Machiavelli, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Masaccio, Donatello, Botticell, Leonardo and Michelangelo called it home.
Art historian and broadcaster Andrew Graham-Dixon took on the art of the Renaissance in a superb 1999 BBC series, Renaissance.
The creative explosion that began in Florence in the 1300s spread to Venice, then Rome and ultimately Northern Europe. The church relied on imagery to tell its gospel stories just as it had in Medieval times. In this part one episode Graham-Dixon traces the Renaissance’s early days from the first staged manger scenes of St. Francis of Assisi to the masterful altar paintings of Giovanni Bellini of Venice. (The uploader has withheld permission to embed these videos, so click on the video image to be taken straight to the recording on YouTube.)