video record
Media not available in the Digital Archive
Dr. Charles Avery, Deputy Keeper of sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum presents this film of sculpture commissioned to decorate the Medici Villas of Castello, Petraia, Pratelino and the Bo...boli Gardens. Looking at sculpture in museums or in photographs cannot give one an idea of the kind of environment those sculptures were made for. The Villa gardens have been much changed since the 16th century and so this film, takes liberties with time and space by transporting sculptures back into their original sequence and setting wherever possible. Garden sculpture ranged from the almost fair-ground levity of the Grotto of the Animals, complete with hidden water jets, to the refined beauty of the Fountains by Giambologna and Tribolo, and the two extremes are often surprisingly merged.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A352, Art in Italy 1480-1580
Item code: A352; 09
First transmission date: 08-08-1979
Published: 1979
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:20
+ Show more...
Producer: Nick Levinson
Contributor: Charles Avery
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Boboli Gardens; Gardens; Giambologna; Renaissance art; Sculpture; Tribolo
Footage description: The programme starts with old prints depicting "Il Trebbio" at Castello, a 15th century Medici villa. Over these Avery briefly describes the rise of the pleasure garden in mid-16th century. A quote from Vasari describes the appointment of Tribolo to design the garden at Castello. Shots of the villa, then of the site of fishponds Shots of ponds at the nearby Villa Petraia. Avery describes the original appearance of the fishponds at Castello. The garden's Hercules Fountain is filmed at length. Also shown is an old print indicating the garden's original appearance. Throughout this sequence a long quotation from Vasari describes the Fountain of Hercules in detail. Renaissance music is played. Shots of another fountain, now located at Petraia but originally at Castello. A description of a fountain by Vasari and Renaissance music accompanies the film. Shots of the higher garden at Castello, then of the interior of the grotto of the animals. Over film of the animals, then of the hidden jets of water the actors' voices are used to enact a scene in which guests at the villa explore the grotto. Further film of the garden at Castello, over which a long quotation from Montaigne is read in which he expresses his delight with the place. Shots of the medieval Palazzo Vecchio in Florence then of the nearby Palazzo Pitti, over which is read Vasari's description of the appointment of Tribolo to lay out the gardens at the Pitti Palace. Varied film of these gardens, including the hillside arena. Avery provides commentary throughout. Shot of figure sculpture by Giambologna, including that of Neptune. Film of the Pitti grotto, which is examined in great detail. Shots of its facade, interior sculptures and decorative effects. A quotation from Baldinucci is read which accounts for the placing of Michelangelo's collossi in the grotto. Film of a small chamber which contains a sculpture depicting Helen and Paris. The camera then moves to the inner sanctum which is a shrine of Venus. Shot of the Venus Fountain with Renaissance music over. Film of the garden at Pratolino which was built for Francesco de Medici. The general layout is considered, then Giambologna's colossal statue of the Appenino is examined. Shots of its interior, the Grotto of Thetis. Avery assesses this giant work of art.
Master spool number: 73006
Production number: FOUA038J
Videofinder number: 895
Available to public: no