The dome that crowns Florence's great cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo, is a masterpiece of Renaissance ingenuity and an enduring source of mystery. Still the largest masonry dome on earth, it is taller than the Statue of Liberty and weighs as much as an average cruise ship. Historians and engineers have long debated how its architect, Filippo Brunelleschi, kept the dome perfectly aligned and symmetrical as the sides rose and converged toward the center." More than four million bricks could collapse at any moment -- and we still don't understand how Brunelleschi prevented it. To test the latest theories, a team of U.S. bricklayers will help build an experimental "mini-Duomo" using period tools and techniques.
Andrew Graham-Dixon reveals how the Medici family transformed Florence through sculpture, painting and architecture and created a world where masterpieces fetch millions today. Without the money and patronage of the Medici we might never have heard of artists such as Donatello, Michelangelo or Botticelli, and Graham-Dixon examines how a family of shadowy, corrupt businessmen, driven by greed and ambition, became the financial engine behind the Italian Renaissance.
Andrew Graham-Dixon retraces Vasari's footsteps for this captivating two-part film in a short Art of Italy season. He's an enthusiastic guide, lapsing easily into Italian conversation with the custodians of galleries and chapels who allow him a private view. From Brunelleschi's Duomo in Florence to less familiar marvels - a Donatello sculpture; Masaccio frescoes - he illustrates how rapidly ideas developed. A final treat for him - and us - is a tour of the Vasari Corridor, a rarely accessed gallery that zigzags across the Florentine rooftops.
Category:Art Duration:58:00 Series: Travels with Vasari
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