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Amongst the Medici
Listen to the latest editionWednesday 11:00-11:30
Bettany Hughes explores renaissance Florence
Programme Details
22 February - 8 March 2006
Lorenzo di Medici
Bettany Hughes begins a three part re-evaluation of one of the most creative and complicated partnerships in the western world

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, this is a critical, intimate, yet spectacular portrait of the two halves of the equation that added up to the most extraordinary celebration of the power of mankind, presented by a broadcaster and historian who inhabits their world and the world they allowed to re-enter Western thought. 

This series is about that symbiotic relationship and the vast change in our perceptions that stemmed from it.

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?

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Episode 2: Renaissance, what renaissance?

Classicist Bettany Hughes continues 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?  And what has Liverpool got to do with it?  Bettany finds that the Renaissance is more than it's cracked up to be.

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Episode 3: Smart women, gay men and false gods

Historian Bettany Hughes concludes her journey through the beauty and the blood of renaissance Florence.  This week she finds that, contrary to popular belief, it was smart women, gay men and false gods who made the corner stones of western civilisation.

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