wed 16/08/2017

Florence

Michelangelo: Love and Death review - how to diminish a colossus

As perhaps the greatest artist there has ever been – and as one of the most fascinating and complex personalities of his era – Michelangelo should be a thrilling subject for serious as well as dramatic cinematic documentary treatment. Michelangelo...

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Michelangelo's Madonna and Child

Michelangelo's Taddei tondo, which depicts the Madonna and Child with the Infant St John in a rocky landscape, is the only Michelangelo marble in Britain. Currently one of the stars of the National Gallery's Michelangelo & Sebastiano show, it is...

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Inferno

Dan Brown is famed for calamitous language massacres that sell by the kerchillion to tone-deaf Renaissance cryptogram junkies. His sentences hurt eyes and his plots numb skulls. But one thing you can say for Brown is he checks facts like an...

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Michael Palin’s Quest for Artemisia, BBC Four

For his latest journey Michael Palin, actor, writer, novelist, comedian, Python, traveller, has gone beyond geography in search of the visual arts with his characteristic enthusiasm, eclectic curiosity, and sense of discovery.With his usual...

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Secrets of the Mona Lisa, BBC Two

There’s a lot of breathless frontloading in television documentaries. The headlines promising shock and awe coming up are posted in the opening edit as a way of hooking in the remote-wielding viewer. Very often as presenters stump around history’s...

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Visions of Paradise: Botticini's Palmieri Altarpiece, National Gallery

The strikingly architectural space that forms the upper portion of Botticini’s Palmieri altarpiece is well-suited to an entrance, forming as it does a sort of triumphal arch heralding great things beyond. And so it is that for years this painting...

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Drawing in Silver and Gold: Leonardo to Jasper Johns, British Museum

Unlike Venice, where colour reigned supreme among artists such as Titian and Veronese, Florence was the city where drawing – disegno – was held up as the cornerstone of the artist’s education. Think of the well-defined musculature of Michelangelo’s...

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DVD: Roberto Rossellini - The War Trilogy

Filming in bombed locations around Italy and Germany, the immediate evocation of wartime and post-war moral zeros, ordinary Italian locals and American GIs playing themselves alongside professional actors: all these assets would be enough to make...

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The Beauty of Anatomy, BBC Four

If the idealised human body forms the heart of the classical tradition in Western art, the close study of nature is its lifeblood. It is inevitable then that artists have sought better to understand anatomy, and there are many examples of artists...

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theartsdesk in La Foce: War and Peace in Val d'Orcia

“If this isn’t nice, what is?” Kurt Vonnegut’s vow to repeat his Uncle Alex’s mantra when things were going “sweetly and peacefully” has been much on my mind during various idylls this war-torn summer. It certainly applied to hearing three boys and...

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theartsdesk in Florence: Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino

Sadly, the name may not mean much. Jacopo Pontormo is a Florentine painter whose fate it was to come of age in the years after the high tide of the High Renaissance. Its vast shadow has left him languishing in second-division obscurity. Every day in...

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Yuletide Scenes 6: Journey of the Magi

It was the fate of Benozzo Gozzoli (c 1422-1497) to be a contemporary of the immortals. A merry journeyman dauber, his talents were overshadowed in his lifetime and are overlooked now. He had a good start in life, working for both Fra Angelico and...

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