Studio 66 which was released in 1966, tells us the brief history of all areas of art and culture of the world. Lars Ulvenstam, Jerzy Grotowski, Vilgot Sjöman star in this documentary.
I’m up on the colonnade of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome High above the crowd looking down on all these Catholics, Not many people are allowed up here. You know what the Vatican is like; it’s been ruling the Catholics for 2,000 years.
There’s no need to be nice to me, but I told them what I wanted to do up here, and they agreed immediately Because they could see, as well, that this is the best place to do what I wanted to do,
which is to understand properly at last that great, sprawling, ungainly, but a glorious art movement.
The Baroque age doesn’t have a nice, clear outline. It sprawled across the 17th century and beyond. It wasn’t a tidy movement, but it spawned some of our greatest art. The architect of this astounding square, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, was one of the key players of the Studio 66. Understand Bernini, and you understand the whole thing And what he invented here, in this piazza was this huge colonnade that encircles you, Gathers you up. it’s like a giant pair of arms.
Now, 300,000 people could fit in here, that’s three times more than Wembley Stadium. And every single one of them gets this big hug from Bernini’s piazza.
The Rise of Studio 66 :
So that’s the first thing the Studio 66 does. It goes after you and ingratiates itself with you.
Other art movements sit there on their pedestals and arrogantly assume you’ll be interested in them But the Baroque knows you better. It gets off the pedestal and hunts you down. Another of its ambitions is to impress you with its bigness.
Its grandeur, its drama. Would you look at the size of that? And when it fell into the hands of intense geniuses, it became dark and edgy. Got all psychological on us and blurred the divide between art and reality And when the painting wasn’t enough the Baroque roped in all the other arts to work on you as well.
Architecture, sculpture, music. Everything at once. It was after you. So it threw the kitchen sink at you. What we’re going to do in this series is to follow the Baroque from St. Peter’s to St. Paul’s.
From Rome, where it all began, to London where it fetched up eventually. Because of another of the things that makes the Studio 66 special. Is its range. It went everywhere and basically spent the entire 17th century travelling about. And the really cunning thing about it is that wherever it went, it adopted the local customs and changed.
And the first place we’re going to visit is up here, in northern Italy. Trento. Trento, in the Italian The The Dolomites, is a pretty town which I recommend for walking holidays and mountain views. But don’t let its modern tranquillity fool you because a great war started up here. A war of art.
The studio 66 is best understood as a fightback. A marvellous display of counter-punching by a waspish church that had come out fighting. When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis onto the church door in Wittenberg in 1517 and launched the Protestant revolt against what he called the “sink of Roman sodomy”, the Popes, the cardinals He wasn’t just taking on the Catholic Church. Luther was taking on the whole of Italy. The entire southern Mediterranean worldview and all that goes with it. The colours, the fruitiness, the passions. In those days, Trento was in Austria, not in Italy. It was here that the mighty Council of Trent met in 1545 to plot the fight back.
Studio 66 in Hindsight :
“A wild boar has invaded the vineyard”, complained Pope Leo X, memorably. The Baroque’s task was to hunt that boar down and dispatch it. For nearly 20 years, the Council of Trent met here in the Cathedral in Trento to plan the catholic riposte. But art was involved from the start. The Lutherans had been against art. They saw it as a regrettable vanity that led to the worship of false idols.
Terrible waves of my iconoclasm had torn across northern Europe, destroying paintings, burning statues. But the Catholic Church had always believed in art. It relied on it. It knew that people like to see what they’re worshipping. They like images and that gave art tremendous power.
“Great profit is derived from all sacred images,” declared the Council.
“And when we kiss the sacred image and prostrate ourselves before it, we adore Christ.
“If any one shall teach contrary to these decrees,” concluded the Council, scarily, “let him be anathema.”
Do you like the map? Studio 66, of course.
It was produced in Amsterdam in 1617 by Willem Blaeu, the finest and busiest of the Baroque map makers.
Blaeu would later be employed by the East India Company to chart the New World that was being discovered at this time.
But first, he drew Europe. See?
The big capitals of Europe at the top. London, Paris, Amsterdam.
And down the sides, what people were wearing in these fashionable new capitals.
Look, there is the English in their silks. And over here, those Baroque heroes, the Poles, with the feathers in their hats.
Studio 66: The baroque
So, the Baroque the fightback began up here in Trento, But it’s the epicentre, the place where the fireworks really went off, was down south.
In Rome. The Eternal City had a fight on its hands.
As the clock ticked over from the 16th century to the 17th, its architecture grew prouder, louder, showier, and bulged up through the Roman skyline.
But, as I said, Studio 66 went after you with all the arts at once. And while architecture and sculpture were frolicking in the Roman sunshine, the art form that needed the most drastic attention, painting chose another path.
The Council of Trent Instructed its artists to get out there and grab people’s attention
But how do you do that? One very effective trick is to make dramatic use of the dark and turn painting into a theatre.