Celebrating 600 years of the cupola: a Sky Arte documentary

“Brunelleschi’s Impossible Dome”

Editorial Staff
May 14, 2020 - 17:24

A new television series, "Brunelleschi's Impossible Dome", is being released to mark 600 years since the construction of Filippo Brunelleschi’s cupola.



An unusual view of Verrocchio's golden ball atop Brunelleschi's Cupola at Florence Cathedral / From Sky Arte's documentary Brunelleschi e le grandi cupole del mondo 



The two-part series celebrates the dome of Florence Cathedral and the world’s greatest architectural domes, old and new. The episodes will air in Italy on Sky Arte (120 and 400 on Sky) and stream on Now TV on May 14 and 21 at 9.15pm.


The first episode concentrates on the early 1400s as structural engineers like Roma Agrawal, who did the calculations for Renzo Piano’s The Shard in London, and architects Norman Foster and Daniel Libeskind comment on the daring solutions used by Brunelleschi to solve technical problems previously deemed impossible. Art historians Antonio Natali, Leslie Primo and Margaret Haines explain the herringbone brick system and the other ingenious devices developed by Brunelleschi.



A striking aerial view of Florence / From Sky Arte's documentary Brunelleschi e le grandi cupole del mondo 



Episode Two focuses on British artist Luke Jerram’s contemporary dome, commissioned by Sky Arte. Titled Palm Temple, this public artwork has been installed in Coal Drops Yard, near King’s Cross. The broadcast also looks at how the dome has developed over time with radical reworkings such as Richard Buckminster Fuller’s geodetic version and the modern application at the Eden Project, in Cornwall, UK.

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