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Piero della Francesca

Piero della Francesca

Piero della Francesca achieved in his works a synthesis between shape and colour based upon perspective theories.

The artist was born in Borgo San Sepolcro (Arezzo) in 1440 and educated in Florence alongside Domenico Venziano. He travelled between Ferrara and Rimini, enriching towns culturally with his knowledge accumulated from a combination of lectures by Leon Battista Alberti and also from Flemish art. 

These components shine through in his works, where the composition rigours, the solid geometric shapes and the perspective balance combine to demonstrate his meticulous attention to detail and the delicacy in production and use of tricks of light. 

Take a minute to observe the transparency through the glass of the window or the reflection of light on the jewels and veils in compositions such as Madonna di Senigallia which is conserved in the National Gallery of Le Marche in Urbino. The composition, a synthesis between Flemish realism and a quest for symmetry and also the simple volumes of the Italian Humanism, are testimony to the good relationship of Piero of the Francesca with the court urbinate Federico of Montefeltro, which developed around the 1460s. 

It was for the duke that the artist also carried out the celebrated Flagellazione (in Urbino the national Gallery of the Marches), mysterious in its meaning and yet clear and sharp in its production, and also the diptych – a two panel painting of Federico of Montefeltro and his wife  Ritratti di Federico da Montefeltro e di Batiste Sforza.(1465). The two ceremonial portraits, today in Florence’s Uffizi, recapture the medal pose typical of the representation of  roman emperors on coins, Piero della Francesca placed the two profiles on a naturalistic background (the hills of  Montefeltro) and portrays them with detail and realism. 

The two works had been designed to be placed beside each other, so that the expression of the dukes met, therefore the landscape runs with continuity from one to the other. Another masterpiece connecting the artist to Le Marche is the famous Pala Montefeltro, one of the finest examples of Italian painting of the 1400s, today conserved in the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan but originally placed in the church of Saint Bernardino in Urbino (where Federico of Montefeltro was buried). 

The architecture represented on the canvas reproduces exactly the inside of the church. 

The shape of the egg that hangs from the shell basin, symbol of the Immaculate conception but also heraldic emblem of Montefeltro, re-echoed in a movement of ovals that increase (the head of the Madonna, the absidale basin), becoming almost the centre of the majestic elevated installation in which is placed the Madonna with the Child, the saints, the angels and the duke knelt down in adoration.



2005 Liberation Ventures Ltd.


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