5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA
Piero della Francesca, one of the greatest 15th century Italian artists, a pioneer of the Italian Renaissance who had significant influence in the development of Italian painting.
Piero della Francesca spending most of his life at the most important Courts in Central and Adriatic Italy.
Among the wide number of Italian Courts, a special place was occupied by Urbino. A small centre in the hills of the Apennines inland, cleverly turned by Duke Federico da Montefeltro into one of the most lively centres of the Renaissance, Urbino gradually become the capital of the intellectual and mathematic orientation of the arts.
5 things to know about Piero della Francesca.
1420. This date is the “post quem” term for the birth of Piero della Francesca in Borgo Sansepolcro near Arezzo, to Benedetto de’Franceschi, shoemaker and tanner, and Romana di Perino from Monterchi.
The reasons for the change of the name to “della Francesca”, made quite early, are unknown.
Perhaps Piero had already begun his Florentine internship at Domenico Veneziano’s atelier.
Piero receives, in 1445, the commission for the Polyptych for the altar of the church of the Confraternity of the Misericordia in Borgo Sansepolcro.
He had probably already begun frequenting the court of Urbino.
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In Piero’s work the relationship between divinity and humanity is expressed with figurative solutions which are related either to a still Medieval type or portrayal, or to a “modus operandi” open to the new trends.
In the central panel of the Polyptych of the Misericordia the figure of the Virgin is much bigger than the figures of the donors beneath her cloack.
This is entirely in keeping with the Medieval model.
1467: After this date Piero painted the panel of the diptych in the Uffizi that portrays Federico da Montefeltro and his triumph.
The portraits of the Duke of Urbino and his wife were a hinged diptych that could be opened and closed like a book, showing the two Triumphs on the outside.
The inscription on the Triumph of Federico reads: He whom fame lord of the virtues proclaims worthy of holding the scepter, as an equal of the greatest condottieri, is carried in grandiose Triumph”
The attention to detail, the way the two profiles stand out against the carefully depicted distant landscape seem evidence of Piero’s interest in Flemish art.
On 12 October of 1492, the burial of “Maestro Pier dei Franceschi, famous painter”, is recorded in the Libro III dei morti (registry of deaths) of the Confraternita di San Bartolomeo in Borgo San Sepolcro.
In the same day Christopher Columbus lands at San Salvador, discovering the new continent that would be called America.