Thursday, November 30, 2006

Amongst the Medici

AMONGST THE MEDICI, a three part series from BBC Radio 4 first broadcast earlier in the year.

Bettany Hughes in a three part re-evaluation of one of the most creative and complicated partnerships in the western world

Her theme: The Renaissance was not a unified, predetermined event that washed the values of the ancient world into the mainstream of the new. It was a far more fragile, random entity than that. The one great constant? The presence of a Medici at every turn of the story.

The Medici were the gatekeepers to the ancient world. Their nurturing of University understanding, the collection of Roman and Greek manuscripts for their library and their sponsorship of humanist artist made them the lynchpin of the Renaissance as the medieval world began to re-examine the relationship between man, God and the world.

Set between the founding of the Medici Bank in 1397 and the aftermath of the Bonfire of the Vanities in 1494

Episode 1: Bankers to the Renaissance

The Medici are synonymous with the Renaissance, but why did these bankers act as patrons to artists like Michelangelo and Donatello - was it a love of art or something more sinister?

Episode 2: Renaissance, what renaissance?

Classicist Bettany Hughes in her journey through the beauty and the blood-letting of Renaissance Florence. Could it be that the Renaissance as we know it wasn't a renaissance at all? Could Donatello's David really be a political statement for the Medici?

Episode 3: Smart women, gay men and false gods

Historian Bettany Hughes concludes her journey through the beauty and the blood of renaissance Florence. The death of Lorenzo and the rise of Savanarola.