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This programme is the fourth in the Third Level Arts Course, A.352, "Art in Italy 1480-1560". It sets out to understand Michelangelo's colossal fresco in relation to the decorative scheme... of the rest of the chapel. Catherine King explains that before 1535 when the Last Judgement was painted, the chapel was complete. Why did Michelangelo and Pope Paul III decide to tear out the beautiful and reassuring pictorial history of the church and replace it with this vision of doom? Catherine King shows how answers to this and other questions lie in the religious climate of the Council of Trent. Dramatised readings from contemporary sources are used to show critical (and conflicting) opinions about Michelangelo's work and Catherine King shows how Michelangelo departs from traditional representations of the subject. Detailed shots of the fresco show Michelangelo as a painter at his most emotionally expressive.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A352, Art in Italy 1480-1580
Item code: A352; 04
First transmission date: 09-05-1979
Published: 1979
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:31
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Producer: Nick Levinson
Contributor: Catherine King
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Michelangelo; Renaissance art; Sistine Chapel
Footage description: The programme opens with a view down the Sistine Chapel towards the fresco of The Last Judgement with choral music over. Numerous shots of details of the painting, which Catherine King describes in voice-over. She comments on the power of the work. In the studio King draws on a sketch of the chapel to explain the religious scheme of all the frescoes. Film of the paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, then of frescos by Signorelli and Perugino. King's commentary deals with religious subject matter of the material and the way it is portrayed. Film of The Lost Judgement over which the reactions of Michelangelo's contemporaries to the work are read. King compares it with more traditional representations of the last judgement. Shots of saints in Michelangelo's Last Judgement. They are identified by King. Shots of details showing the saved embracing, with disapproving contemporary comments over. Details are examined showing the dead awakening and the damned being punished. Over these contemporary quotes are read and King adds her comments. The Last Judgement is compared with Signorelli's version at Orvieto. Shots of Charon's boat in the Sistine Chapel fresco, over which an extract from Dante's Inferno is read. Shots of a version of the last judgement by Giotto as well as other examples of the subject King describes the traditional elements of such works. Further film of Michelangelo's Last Judgement which King compares to more traditional representations of the subject. She also describes the painting over of what were considered offensive details in the work. Shots of the damned in Michelangelo's and in other works. King's final comments emphasise the inventive power of the Last Judgement.
Production number: FOUAO33N
Videofinder number: 823
Available to public: no