(Dir. Luca Viotto) (2015)
This documentary on the city that invented the Renaissance is a treat but it could have been better, says Director Pete:
4. The Varnished Culture had an extremely fleeting time in the red-roofed Tuscan Theme Park but we didn’t get much of the city in the film, apart from some sensational long tracking shots, some nice interiors of Brunelleschi’s cathedral, nor was there much sense of a visit to Vasari’s edifice perched on the Arno River.
But you get to see a (surgical) slice of some of the greatest art by the great Florentine artists of all time, up close and without peering over the heads of the selfie Mafia….
It is a pleasant piece of film, a worthy try at virtual tourism, and will at least grant you a taster without the Hell of Firenze railway station.
As Jacob Burckhardt wrote of Florence in his classic The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (1945) “In no other city of Italy were the struggles of political parties so bitter, of such early origin, and so permanent.” Hence the miracle of the Renaissance, due in large part to folks like Medici, who equated great art with power-branding but still appreciated and fostered it as art per se. The suggestion that strife makes for art recalls Harry Lime’s referencing the chaos in Italy with its great works, compared to the comfortable and relaxed Swiss, who gave us the cuckoo clock.