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The rediscovered masterpiece

 Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, known as il Guercino (1591 - 1666) is one of the most important artists of the Italian Baroque. Yet some great works are still missing. Massimo Pulini, a well known art historian,  has recently conducted a complex and difficult research that has allowed him to bring to light a masterpiece by Guercino whose traces had been lost for centuries: the Assumption of the Virgin. The painting, a magnificent altarpiece, was found in the church of San Francesco in Aversa, where it was kept until today without any attribution. Thanks to the exclusive access to Pulini’s research, we will tell the exciting journey of discovery through archive researches, inspections, iconographic comparisons arriving at the happy final twist. The history of the investigation will be intertwined with the highlights of Guercino’s artistic biography through the very high resolution images of his most important works.




The birth of modern advertising

Young and beautiful people.  The product clearly on display along with its trademark. A witty (or at least amusing) presentation. These are three cornerstones of advertising that we still encounter every day. They are not a recent invention, nor are they the fruit of scientific research of the artistic avant-garde.They date from over a century ago when a unique group of artistic talents in Germany initiated the golden age of commercial art and design. At the very beginning of 20th century the first modern advertising poster was created in Berlin: the Priester matches poster.  The Plakatstil was born. Lucian Bernhard, Ludwig Hohlwein, Julius Klinger: these were the three artists who revolutionized the approach to advertising and left us a heritage of ideas that are still valid today. They turned away from the complexity of Art Nouveau and propagated a more modern outlook on poster art.Each of them created a style of his own, each of them came up with original solutions, each of them made different choices in their lives.Through their works and their destinies we will tell the story of the birth of modern advertising. Three different but equally dramatic fates. Ludwig Hohlwein worked in Nazi propaganda, Lucian Bernhard left Germany for the United States, Julius Klinger died in a concentration camp.




The history of a legendary frock

October 1, 1926. In American Vogue a simple black dress is featured for the first time alongside many flamboyant colored garments and lavish embroideries.

The Little Black Dress is signed by Coco Chanel and it is praised by the renowned magazine as the garment destined to become "a sort of uniform for women all over the world." With the hindsight of ninety years the words of the American magazine sound like a prophecy. In short order the Little Black Dress becomes the very symbol of Chanel and a "must" in every woman’s wardrobe.

After Chanel, it was cinema that made the LBD  the best-suited costume to express new models of Femininity: Rita Hayworth, Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, Anita Ekberg…And in 1961, Audrey Hepburn with Breakfast at Tiffany’s lends a touch of eternity to the Little Black Dress.

Since then the LBD continues to spark the imagination and creativity of the important Fashion labels: everyone, no matter if young or established, tests their mettle: from Valentino to Prada, from Versace to Alexander McQueen, from Armani to Dolce & Gabbana.

Today the LBD is more than ever a crucial point for the fashion of the future. In Holland, the young designer Iris Van Herpen abandons traditional fabrics and dabbles with new materials. Pivoting between craftsmanship and technology, her LBD made with a 3D printer, relaunches Chanel’s challenge into the new millennium. 




Summer 1943, Rome. A rickety cart is being pushed by three young men through the streets of a city still under the shock of the bombing it has just been subjected to. On the cart, beneath military blankets, packed as best as they can in wooden boxes, is the most delicate of experimental apparatus, which has escaped the destruction. A few days earlier, one thousand tons of bombs had fallen on Rome. At the University, three young researchers, Ettore Pancini, Oreste Piccioni and Marcello Conversi, were intent on safeguarding years of research by protecting the precious equipment of their researches from further attacks: they have to take it to another place, to a safer area of the city. And thus, it was all loaded onto a cart. Watching them go through the streets of Rome, sweating, haggard with fatigue, it seemed as if they were traveling street vendors. One has to laugh, or maybe even cry when one thinks that this is all that remains of the scientific treasure of Enrico Fermi. Yet it is from here, from this choice to continue their research at all costs in spite of the ever closer and more devastating war, and from the ingenuity and courage of these young me, that one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 20th century would come to light. No scientist from any other country, before or after that time was successful in achieving what these young men did: to bring to completion the most delicate of experiments, while every day risking arrest and torture by the Nazis; because you are a deserter, because while you are carrying out calculations and studies, you are aiding the partisans, hiding arms and fugitives, because you are dealing in the black market in search of electronic valves and Geiger tubes, because you are not afraid to take up the rifle, and face the Fascists, even if you don’t eat for days, and your hands are tortured by frost.

In these conditions Ettore Pancini, Oreste Piccioni, Marcello Conversi managed to continue with their experiment which concluded with success in 1946,  when from their research there emerged the discovery of a new nuclear particle: the muon.




The King of Fashion

Paul Poiret, the first couturier to impose his own style on global women’s fashions. Seventy years after his death we relate the glories and downfall of a revolutionary artist and entrepreneurial genius in the amazing world of Belle Epoque Paris.
Everything that now seems a natural part of the fashion world was anticipated by one incredible creative talent: Paul Poiret ( 1879 – 1944 ). In just over ten years, between 1903 and the First World War, the Parisian tailor had a series of innovative ideas which were to change the fashion world for good. Poiret is usually remembered for having freed women from the slavery of busts and corsets which, as well as being extremely uncomfortable to wear also gave the female figure and unnatural silhouette. Poiret was a great couturier, but to limit a portrait of him to his finest creations would be to do him a grave injustice.
Poiret was the first to broaden the concept of fashion itself, ushering in the total lifestyle. 
Around his clothes designs he created perfumes, shows and accessories, even home furnishings.
Poiret was the first to take fashion outside the discreet walls of traditional ateliers.
He was the first to make Fashion an event of international importance which fed itself through advertising, the figurative arts, theatrical performances and fashion shows.
He anticipated the present day by devising marketing strategies inconceivable at the time. He was the first to publish his own sketches for publicity purposes. He was the first to organize travelling fashion shows in Europe and the United States to promote his work. It was Poiret who made the mannequin the protagonist of these theatrical shows.
Paul Poiret. The King of Fashion relates all of this, reliving the most important moments in his career as couturier and entrepreneur. Up until the long crisis which marked his unstoppable decline after the First World War.



René Gruau

Revolution in evening dress

René Gruau was the most refined fashion illustrator of the twentieth century. A voyage of discovery through the world of an artist, born and bred in a provincial Italian town, responsible for creating the image of Dior and of international fashion in the 1950s. Stylist, advertising designer, magazine illustrator, costume artist, stage designer… Gruau worked in the world of fashion from the 1930s until the 1990s with an inimitable light touch, innate elegance and instantly recognizable style. Gruau worked in France, Britain, Italy, the United States, creating the image of great fashion houses such as Dior and adorning with his drawings the covers of Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Flair. He worked also for Balenciaga, Chanel, Fath, Schiaparelli. René Gruau  – Zavagli is  his real Italian surname - influenced the image of international haute couture like no-one else. He gave form and life to a new vision of femininity : from neutral “clothes-hangers” the women became  protagonists aware of their own charm. Unusual angles and revolutionary stylistic approaches: Gruau changed illustration for ever.



The Years of the Lost Images

Pages of a Venetian diary

The Years of the Lost Images outlines the human and artistic portrait of Valerio Zurlini, one of the most important directors on the “golden age “ of the Italian cinema. From The Girls of San Frediano (1954) to the Desert of the Tartars (1976), his films have always received the support of the public and the critics. The peak of his career Zurlini soon joins him: in 1962 he won the Golden Lion for “Family Diary”...



Looters of the Gods

Museums and illicit trade in Antiquities

Looters of the Gods is a film about the indirect role played by many of the world’s most prestigious museums in the illicit trade of antiquities. It develops like a detective story structured on two narrative levels. The first is an inquiry that reconstructs and delves into all aspects of this illegal network, and sums up the current situation. For years, public prosecutor Paolo Ferri has been fighting the clandestine art market. He is the strategist in this worldwide battle and he reveals to us the most important secrets of his investigations. The second narrative level follows the investigation that recounts the story of the recovery of an ancient masterpiece, the Golden Wreath. The Golden Wreath is considered the most beautiful gem of classical Greek art. And the most valuable, as the tomb raiders who unearthed it in northern Greece fifteen years ago, sold it to the Getty for one and a half million dollars!



The Short Art

The Surgeon of Ariminum

In 1989 the rooms of a Roman residence, a domus, were brought to light in the centre of Rimini (Italy). It seemed a discovery like any other.. But archaeologists discovered one hundred and fifty surgical instruments. It is the richest and most important set of Roman medical equipment ever found. Starting from the description of this discovery, the documentary attempts to draw the historical figure of the surgeon and the different facets of his work.



Combat Art

Art theft has become a thriving black-market industry that results in global losses of about $6 billion a year, according to the FBI. For decades, thousands of Italian works of art were smuggled out of the country and ended up in the galleries or warehouses of some of the world’s biggest antiquities dealers. The documentary describes the action of Italian Police against this massive art looting and its recent successful results. 




The Signs of Power

The latest remarkable archaeological discovery made on Rome’s Palatine Hill takes the audience into the most secret and magical heart of Rome: the insignia of imperial power. They are the scepters and parade weapons, the Emperor’s banners.
Hidden in order to protect them from enemy hands, the imperial insignia have been brought back to light after seventeen hundred years: for the first time the symbolic instruments with which the emperor wielded his power are revealed. To which emperor did these insignia belong? 



Fortuna Maris

The mistery of a shipwreck

A few years ago, a unique archaeological discovery was made near Comacchio, a little town at the mouth of the mighty Po River in Italy
From the mud of a canal emerged a Roman trading ship, with its entire cargo, revealing many fascinating objects of refined manufacture, relating to the daily lives of sailors -undamaged !
Through scientific research made by specialists and the witness of seamen, the documentary tells this unusual story, revealing much interesting information about the ancient way of sailing and about the daily lives of the Romans.




3000 years between past and future



Persepolis, Via Merulana

Persepolis: few cities of the ancient world can rival Persepolis as the symbol and image of a whole world, of a boundless kingdom that ruled Asia for two hundred years, extending from the Aegean to the Indian Ocean: the Persian Empire
From 1964 to 1979 an Italian mission of ISMEO (today called ISIAO) -the Italian Institute for the Middle and Far East –worked on the restoration of Persepolis. The man in charge of the restoration work was the architect Giuseppe Tilia. Over the space of fifteen years he collected invaluable data on the most important archeological site of ancient Persia.
Through the story of this important mission, new important archeological features of Persepolis have been revealed.



Fra Carnevale

A recovered Master

For the first time in seventy years, two masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance, the Barberini Tablets, were brought together for an exhibition organised by the Brera Painting Gallery in Milan and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
The Barberini Tablets are as mysterious as they are famous. Indeed, for nearly a century it was not known who painted them. Finally, scholars have identified them as the work of a painter from Urbino, a student and collaborator of Filippo Lippi and friend of Piero della Francesca: Bartolomeo Corradini, better known as the Dominican friar Fra Carnevale.
With evidence provided by the scholars who made the discovery, the documentary tells the moving story of how this mystery was revealed. It also traces the artistic development of this original and hitherto unknown painter.



Alburnus Major

A treasure to be saved

Today Alburnus Major is called Rosia Montana. Rosia Montana is part of the so-called “Golden Quadrilateral,” an area in Romania rich in metals.
The complex of Dacian, Roman, medieval and Habsburg galleries is unique for its size and state of preservation. With long sections still unexplored, the galleries may conceal priceless archaeological treasures. A Canadian mining company mining was given permission to develop a plan for the intensive exploitation of the Rosia Montana area. Time is short: if the Romanian government gives the goahead, the final phase of the project could get under way in the next years. Large opencast mines, like enormous volcanic craters, will sweep away mountains, woods and villages. Sixteen thousand tonnes of cyanide a year will be used. Within a circular area of 100 square kilometers, the flora, fauna and every form of life in the surface and subterranean waters will be destroyed. In the meantime archeological excavations are being carried out at a frantic pace : hidden a few centimeters below ground is the whole fabric of Dacian and Roman urbanization. A fabric that is currently being investigated by archeologists seeking to understand just what we risk losing forever.



Scipio’s Dream

Power and Death in Ancient Rome

Rome: an empire that lasted for 800 years, 800 years of wars, triumphs, victories and defeats, 800 years of power and death. Death that the Roman armies inflicted on their enemies and stared in the face themselves. The documentary describes the complex, strong relationship between power and death through some of the most important monuments of ancient Rome. The magnificent Villa Piccola, the stucco-decorated tombs beneath S.Sebastiano, the “columbarium” of Pomponius Hylas, the Hypogeum of the Aureli family, the Scipio mausoleum: unique, intact monuments, will be opened for us. Monuments that are normally inaccessible because of their frailty and their importance.