In the lengthy history of Italian TV art has had a place right from the start: 3 January 1954, when the RAI began broadcasting, was also the date of the first cultural programme, Le avventure dell’arte (The Adventures of Art). And it was indeed an adventure: the outstanding communicative potential of the new medium, which took high culture into many Italian homes for the first time, soon came up against the scepticism, if not downright boycott of a substantial part of critics and intellectuals, as well as navigatng the minefield of translating culture from one medium to another. Sixty years on, the scenario and the protagonists of this story are vastly different, with the presence of private broadcasters and pay tv greatly expanding what is on offer, not to mention the switch to digital, and the natural evolution of television language and personalities, including artists and critics. But while the context has changed, the issues regarding the relationship between art and TV remain the same, first and foremost the legitimacy of a popular medium to convey high-brow culture, and the small screen's approach to art, including the various forms of art education which are held to be the main and most obvious use of the medium.
This aspect is the focus of the essays gathered in this book, some concerning the specific field of television communication and others focusing on art. Despite these different angles, what comes to the fore is the close relationship between the two most influential visual media of the late 20th century.