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The course unit is about Giorgio Vasari vino wrote "The Lives of the Artists" in the 16th century. The book is of great importance as a source of information about the Renaissance, a peri...od-label of which Vasari was one of the nost influential creators. This television profjrar.:ne looks at Renaissance Florence through Vasari's eyes. Catherine King, Lecturer in the History of Art, selects sone of the major works of art and artistic events that Vasari writes about and goes on to show how he built his art history theories fron then. The programme demonstrates the value of Vasari as an eye-witness of the Florentine Renaissance but Mrs. King also stresses his limitations and shows how his admiration of the artistic achievements of his own time often blinded him to the art of the generations that preceded him. Mrs. King goes on to analyse the qualities that Vasari particularly admired and to discuss his interest in the revival of "tiie ancient art of Greece and Rome. In the course of the programme, many works of art are carefully scrutinised by the camera, in particular the Baptistery gates in the Cathedral Square and, in the Piazza della Signoria, Donatello's "Judith and Holofernes" and Michelangelo's "David".
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A100, Humanities: a foundation course
Item code: A100; 21
First transmission date: 16-06-1971
Published: 1971
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:23:25
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Producer: Nick Levinson
Contributors: Denys Hawthorne; Catherine King; Gabriel Woolf
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Florence; Painting; Renaissance; Vasari
Footage description: Catherine King explains that the importance of Vasari is that he was both observer and participant in the 16th Century Italian Renaissance and that the purpose of the programme is to show how a view of Florence of the 16th Century can help explain Vasari's attitudes. Shot of portrait of Vasari followed by Vasari's 'Vista of Florence' and photographs of different aspects of Florence including Uffizi Palace. Catherine King describes the emotional pride in Florence and the achievement of its citizens shared by all artists and Vasari himself. Sequence of Vasari designs for festival costumes and floats. Shots of paintings ornamented chests and portrait busts. Catherine King describes the origin of the Florentine patronage of the arts. Two portrait busts, the second, of Lorenzo de Medici. Shot of Ghiberti's Baptistery doors, Botticelli's 'Adoration of the Magi', Leonardo's self-portrait and anatomical drawings and of Raphael's murals in the Vatican apartments, all demonstrating Catherine King's contention that the period marked the origin of a new understanding of the artist's own individuality. Shot of Vasari's 'Vista of Florence'. Shot of Baptistery showing bronze doors by Pisano and by Ghiberti. Catherine King describes in detail the development of artistic style as demonstrated by the comparison between Pisano and Ghiberti as reflected in the history of the Baptistery doors. Constant shots of various panels of the doors. Further shot of Vasari's 'Vista of Venice'. Shot of Piazza della Signoria containing statuary by Celini and Michelangelo. Catherine King described now this became tne exhibition centre for rival sculptors who exhibited there Shots of Michelangelo's 'David' with quotation from Vasari in its praise. Shots of Cellini's 'Perseus' and Bandinelli's Hercules. The latter is shown with quotation from Cellini's critical comments upon it. Shots of Cellini's 'Perseus'. Catherine King explains how the latter shows signs of the mannerist style and marks a decline from the heroic grandeur of Michelangelo's 'David', a decline which Vasari himself noted. Shots of Michelangelo's 'David' and Donatello's 'Judith and Holofernes'. Various shots of Donatello's work while Catherine King describes how these two works aquired a political (i.e. republican) significance for the Florentines. Various shots of Michelangelo's David while Catherine King describes Vasari's preferance for the modern over the medieval art styles and his reasons. King explains that a simple view of Florence contemporary with Vasari is not sufficient to understand his attitudes. Vasari in his attitudes drew heavily on his knowledge of antique Greek and Roman art. Shots of sketches of classical statuary and ruins by He ems hi rk and Aspertini . Catherine King describes how important the study of the antique became in the training of artists. Shots of 'Hermaphrodite' with Ghiberti's description of it. Catherine King describes how Vasari attributed the excellence of his contemporaries in part to the discovery of the antique sculpture. Various shots of 'Laocoon'. King explains Vasari's reasons for considering the 'Laocoon' so highly, i.e. intense drama Shots of Apollo Belvedere, illustrating the restraint of" classicism which also impressed Vasari. Shots of 'David' and Judith and Holofarnes illustrating the two characteristics of classic art previously described.
Master spool number: 6LT/10079
Production number: 00520_1321
Videofinder number: 2432
Available to public: no