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Masterpieces of Italian Art

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Could the fancy art books that decorate American coffee tables become as obsolete as sipping coffee in the living room? The potential is there, judging by Masterpieces of Italian Art, a five-disc survey of Italian art, an interactive program that contains an hour-long documentary film plus 810 video still pictures to flip through at your leisure with the remote control. Shots of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican before and after the controversial restoration are especially illuminating, and the narration dwells informatively on the style of the Mona Lisa, Michelangelo’s David, Raphael’s Madonnas, and other masterpieces. Though some of this disc’s still frames are marred by flicker, the motion of video can certainly present architecture and sculpture more vividly than books do. B+

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