A preview of Rick Steves Art of Europe: The Renaissance. Watch the full episode at, or check your local public television listings.
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Rick Steves, America’s most respected authority on European travel, writes European travel guidebooks, and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio.
Foreign [Music] By the late 1400s the Florentine Renaissance was in full bloom and that Exuberant spirit is best found in the Big colorful paintings of Sandro Botticelli As a member of the Medici Circle he was Even a friend of Lorenzo the Magnificent He studied their collection of ancient Statutes Botticelli found inspiration in the Balanced compositions the naked Beauty And secular humanistic Outlook As he painted he created visions of pure Beauty that captured the optimistic Springtime or Primavera of the Renaissance Here in a celebration of fertility as a Nymph escapes the cold West Wind she Sprouts flowers from her lips and Transforms into the goddess of spring Who spreads blossoms from her dress The Three Graces do a delicate dance [Music] While a blindfolded Cupid happily shoots Arrows of Love without worrying who They'll hit In the center stands Venus the goddess Of love framed by a Halo of leaves as She presides over a delightful scene of Beauty joy and love The epitome of early Renaissance Beauty May be Botticelli's Birth of Venus the
First large-scale depiction of a naked Woman in a thousand years Born from the foam of a wave Venus is Just waking up the world itself seems Fresh and newly born [Music] The god of the wind sets the whole scene In motion Floating ashore on her scallop shell Venus takes Center Stage Botticelli creates an Ideal World Perfectly lit the body's curve Harmoniously the faces are idealized and Their gestures exude Grace Naked as a newborn Venus symbolized the Optimism of the Renaissance Next Michelangelo took on the Epic scale Statue of David displayed today as if The high altar in a temple to humanism The young Shepherd who slew the giant Turned down the armor of the day arming Himself only with stones He throws his sling over his shoulder And goes out to face the Giant Michelangelo catches David at the exact Moment when he's sizing up the enemy and Thinks to himself I can take this guy This statue has come to symbolize that With the Renaissance humankind could Slay the giant of medieval ignorance and Superstition David's oversized right hand was no Accident it represented how this Shepherd boy empowered by God could slay
The Giant and how Florence could rise Above its rival city-states when you Look at David you're looking at Renaissance Man Artists now made their point using Realism They did this by merging Art and Science For instance Michelangelo actually Dissected human corpses to better Understand Anatomy this humanism was not Anti-religion now people realize that The best way to glorify God was not to Bow down in church all day long but to Recognize their talents and to use them