Piero della Francesca
(1406 - 1492)
Borgo Sansepolcro, Italy
Style: Early Renaissance
- The Flagellation of Christ (1445-50)
- Baptism of Christ (1450)
- Madonna and Child with Saints (1472)
Piero della Francesca was most likely trained by painter Domenico Veneziano. He enjoyed a great reputation as one of the best painters in Italy during his life, influencing a great many students and completing work around Italy. The itinerant artist is shown by records of payment to have worked in Arezzo, Ferrara, Urbino, Rome, Rimini, and Venice. Early in his career Piero became interested in the new science of one-point perspective. The method of depicting space relied on principles of geometry and mathematics intrigued Piero, and he soon devoted his work to its examination. He mastered the discipline, writing treatises, poetry, and books on the mathematical accuracy of his perspective. Most importantly, Piero incorporated a deep sense of perspective and created the illusion of depth and dimension throughout his work. A standard attribute throughout the collection of Piero is the presence of linear lines and perspective. In one of his most important paintings, The Flagellation of Christ, a scene of the Savior is set on a grid of Greek architecture, receding into the rear of the picture plane. To emphasize this depth Piero painted a seemingly insignificant grouping in the front of the canvas, exaggerating the placement of the figures and the condensed space. He interpreted the beauty of the world as a combination of shapes circle, pyramids, and cones and merged his idea of space with his use of sophisticated color. Some revere Piero as the earliest ancestor to the modern artists concerned with simplifying objects to their purest form.