At the end of the 16th century, Genoa was a rich city - its port opened into the heart of Mediterranean Europe, its merchants traded throughout the world and its bankers were owed by the rulers of Europe. This wealth attracted the great artists of the continent, bring to Genoa the Flemish, Tuscan, Lombard and other styles, and creating the first truly 'European' artistic culture. It was from this culture that emerged the greatest Genovese painter: Bernardo Strozzi.
Despite his tormented and isolated soul, Strozzi absorbed the styles, influences and lessons of the masters whose works could be admired in Genoa, including Rubens and Caravaggio. Inspired by these influences, Strozzi created distinctive works which combined the lessons of the masters with his own talents and unique use of colours, as well as betraying much of his inner turmoil as he battled with the church, jealous rivals, financial woes and personal loss.
In this fascinating programme we discover the great city of Genoa and the powerful influences which shaped not only the work of Strozzi, but the direction of art. We examine the remarkable life of the master, including his days in a Franciscan convent, as a farmer, a port engineer and, finally, a man fleeing his home for the romance, and secular safety, of Venice.
His most spectacular works are captured in breathtaking footage, with lingering close-ups allowing us an unrivalled view of the detail and devotion as we assess and explore the most famous masterpieces. Alongside the great works of Strozzi, we examine the masterpieces which influenced his hand and tour the magnificent city of Genoa, which gave us this Great Master.