Piero della Francesca: life, facts, curiosities and art!

A guest post by Sara Bellucci - valtiberinaintoscana.it terredipiero.it He was a painter and a mathematician. He developed the rules of perspective and geometric shapes. He painted the Resurrection, “the most beautiful painting in the world”. He’s Piero della Francesca.
Self-portrait, Resurrection (detail), Piero della Francesca
Self-portrait, Resurrection (detail), Piero della Francesca
HIS STORY Piero was born around 1415 in Sansepolcro, where he started painting, working with Antonio d’Anghiari. From the fifteenth century Piero alternated between working in his hometown and within the main courts of northern Italy, such as the Malatesta in Rimini, the Medici in Florence and the Montefeltro in Urbino. In 1445, he was commissioned to paint the great Polyptych of Mercy (Sansepolcro, Civic Museum) by the Misericordia Fraternity; he then worked on it intermittently, until 1462: the central figure, facing straight on, is the Virgin Mary on a golden background, opening her black mantle to her worshippers.
Polittico della Misericordia
Polittico della Misericordia
Between 1452 and 1465 Piero della Francesca painted The Legend of the True Cross, in the Basilica of San Francesco in Arezzo; it’s one of the major mural painting cycles from fifteenth century Italy.
[Photo Credits: CharlesFred]
[Photo Credits: CharlesFred]
In the early 1460s Piero della Francesca painted the Madonna del Parto, (Monterchi, Madonna del parto Museum) one of the highest expressions of the Renaissance. The Virgin is in the centre of a curtained canopy, the drapes held back at the sides by two angels. The work is captivating due to its depiction of the natural pose of an expectant mother.
Madonna del Parto
Madonna del Parto
The extraordinary Resurrection in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, the Town Hall at that time and now Civic Museum of Sansepolcro, is an example of the perfect combination between art and science. It's a fresco where the figure of Christ is perfectly at the center of the scene, facing the visitor, strong and solemn: it's Christ who triumphs over the darkness of the tomb and the unawareness of men. This is both a civic symbol and a sacred icon: contemporary writer Aldous Huxley called it “the most beautiful painting in the world.”
Resurrection
Resurrection
During the 1460s and 1470s Piero was intensely involved with the court of Urbino and with Duke Federigo Montefeltro, for whom he completed some of his most famous works: the Double Portrait of the Dukes, Federigo and his wife Battista Sforza (Florence, Uffizi Gallery) and the famous Flagellation (Urbino, National Gallery of Marche).
Doppio Ritratto dei Duchi di Urbino
Doppio Ritratto dei Duchi di Urbino
Piero della Francesca went blind in his final years and died in Sansepolcro on October 12, 1492. HIS WORKS OF ART, IN TUSCANY (most important works) SANSEPOLCRO, Civic Museum The Resurrection The Polyptych of Mercy St. Julian, St. Luis MONTERCHI, Madonna del Parto Museum Madonna del Parto AREZZO, Basilica of San Francesco The Legend of the True Cross AREZZO, Cathedral of San Donato Maria Maddalena FLORENCE, Uffizi Gallery Double Portrait of the Dukes of Urbino And if you want to follow in the footsteps of Piero and discover his land, works and history... Download our free itineray!