Piero della Francesca

Chronology

Polyptych of the Misericordia

The Flagellation of Christ

St. Jerome in Penitence

Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta Praying in Front of St. Sigismund

Portrait of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta

St. Jerome and a Donor

The Baptism of Christ


The History of the True Cross
       Adoration of the Holy Wood and the Meeting of Solomon        and the Queen of Sheba
       Constantine's Dream

Mary Magdalene

Madonna del parto

St. Julian

Resurrection

Polyptych of Saint Augustine


Nativity

Polyptych of Perugia

Madonna and Child with Saints (Montefeltro Altarpiece)

Paired portraits of Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza

Madonna di Senigallia


Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists | Piero della Francesca





 





 
Art in Tuscany
             
 
Piero della Francesca | Madonna del parto (1459-1467)
Piero della Francesca, Madonna del Parto (after 1457), detached fresco, 203 cm,Museo della Madonna del Parto, Monterchi
Art in Tuscany  
       
   

Piero della Francesca | Madonna del parto (1459-1467)

   
   
The Madonna del Parto is a fresco painting by the Italian Renaissance master Piero della Francesca, finished around 1460. It is housed in the Museo della Madonna del Parto of Monterchi. The figure of this Madonna, the protector of pregnant women, with her austere expression and natural stance of a woman heavy with child, stands out against the damask canopy, held open at the sides by two angels. The sacred and ritual nature of the image is further emphasized by the fact that the angels are drawn from the same cartoon, repeated in mirror image.

In just seven "working days" (presumably before 1465) Piero della Francesca painted the extraordinary and touching image of the Madonna del Parto, distant as a heavenly vision and yet alive and real in her post-adolescent freshness. The fresco was planned to complete the back wall of the main altar in the 13th century church of Santa Maria di Momentana (formerly Santa Maria in Silvis) in an isolated country village on the slopes of Monterchi. The church was completely destroyed in 1785 after a disastrous earthquake which miraculously left standing only the wall with the fresco. The panting was later detached from the wall and moved to a niche in the main altar of a new church. This chapel was constructed to serve a cemetery that had been established as part of the reforms instituted by Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo. In 1889, after more than a century of neglect, the fresco was "rediscovered" as one of Piero's masterpieces. In order to conserve the fresco it was again detached from the wall in 1910 by the restorer Domenico Fiscali and then was again saved from destruction in the earthquake of 1917 that seriously damaged the 18th century cemetery chapel. From 1956 until its restoration in 1992/93 the Madonna del Parto was conserved inside a new chapel built from the remains of the earlier structure.

The work was attributed to Piero della Francesca only in 1889. Its dating has been the subject of debate, ranging from 1450 to 1475. The 16th century artist and writer Giorgio Vasari wrote that it was completed in 1459, when Piero della Francesca was in Sansepolcro for his mother's death
The fresco also plays an important role in Richard Hayer's novel Visus, in Andrei Tarkovsky's film Nostalghia, and in the poem "San Sepolcro" by Jorie Graham.
 

Piero della Francesca, Madonna del parto (dettaglio)

The portrayal of a pregnant Madonna was a theme depicted sometimes in the early 14th century Tuscany (examples include Taddeo Gaddi, Bernardo Daddi and Nardo di Cione). The Madonna was portrayed standing, alone, with a closed book on her belly, an allusion to the embodied Word.

Piero della Francesca's Madonna has neither books nor royal attributes as in the medieval predecessors of the picture. She is portrayed with a hand against her side to support her prominent belly. At her side are two angels, who are keeping open a pavilion decorated with pomegranates, a symbol of Christ's passion. The upper part of the painting is lost. The two angels are specular, as they were realized by the artist with the same holed fresco cartoons.

The theological symbolism behind the representation is rather complex. Maurizio Calvesi has suggested that the tent would be a representation of the Ark of the Covenant. Maria would be thus the new Ark of Alliance in her role as mother of Jesus. For other scholars the tent is a symbol of the Catholic Church and the Madonna would symbolize the tabernacle, as she is portrayed containing Jesus' body.



Reconstructive drawing of original architectural frame the Madonna del Parto (Guido Botticelli, et al., Il restauro della Madonna del Parto di Piero della Francesca, 1994)

In 1785 the local council of Monterchi, needing to build a new cemetery, obtained authorization from the bishop for the demolition of part of the church of Momentana, on the condition that the town's community rebuilt and maintained at its own expense the new chapel, notably smaller, in the same place as it had previously been. The fresco of the Madonna partoriente (Pregnant Madonna) fortunately remained on the back wall of this chapel and it was precisely here that the work, long forgotten. would be 'rediscovered' in 1889 by Vincenzo Funghini. In 1910 the fresco was detached from the wall and restored by Domenico Fiscali. The work, placed in a support structure, was returned to its original location at the beginning of 1911.

The earthquake which in 1917 destroyed a large part of Monterchi, seriously damaged the chapel, but miraculously spared the precious fresco which, for reasons of safety, was removed from the church and placed in the temporary custody of the local Mariani family. It remained with them until 1919 when the masterpiece was transferred to the Art Gallery (Pinacoteca) of Sansepolcro, to be subsequently returned to its original place in Monterchi three years later.

During the 1911 restoration, Professor Domenico Fiscali added the upper part of the tent with this dome-shaped lunette, in imitation of the repainting of the 1700s. As a result of subsequent studies, it then emerged that the added part tended to affect the perspective of the work, which as a result ended up appearing more squashed.
Precisely for this reason, it was removed during the 1992 restoration work, leaving the original fragment unaltered. Afterwards, by removing the coating of mold and the colours added in previous restorations, the fresco reacquired its appeal in the full expression of its enigmatic perspective and in the brightness of the colours.

In 1944, in order to preserve the fresco from possible war damage, the niche where it was contained was closed in with a wall of bricks. When the war was over, the work was brought out again and immediately the need was established for a restoration project. In 1950 the restorer Dino Dini was called in to repair the damage and he worked to eliminate the coating of mould that had appeared on the surface. 
In 1955, since it was considered unsuitable to enter the chapel through the cemetery, it was decided to transform the 18th century sacristy of the church into a chapel, opening up a door in the external wall. In so doing, the spatial context of the environment for which the work had been conceived was changed completely, radically altering also the architectural whole. 
In the early 1990s, in order to improve the protection of the fresco, a restoration project of the chapel was begun by the Soprintendenza of Arezzo. It was therefore imperative to detach the Madonna, which was then transferred to its current location (the ex-elementary school) in order to avoid any risk and at the same time to allow the necessary work of preservation and restoration.
 

Madonna del parto, Museo Madonna del Parto a Monterchi


Pier Francesco Fiorentino, Angeli reggicortina, Certaldo, Ex chiesa dei Santi Tommaso e Prospero °

   
   
Piero della Francesca, Madonna del Parto (detail), detached fresco, 203 cm, Museo della Madonna del Parto, Monterchi

 

In the footsteps of Piero della Francesca

 

Itinerary in Tuscany| Starting from Sansepolcro, his hometown, follow this itinerary, and see his greatest work of Piero della Francesca in Sansepolcro, Perugia, Urbino, Arezzo, Rimini and eventually Florence.

Itinerary in Central Italy | In the footsteps of Piero della Francesca




° Un'ultima testimonianza è l'affresco staccato con gli angeli reggicortina della chiesa sconsacrata di San Tommaso e Prospero, attigua al Palazzo, realizzata entro il nono decennio del Quattrocento: è una palese derivazione della celebre Madonna del parto di Piero della Francesca, conservata a Monterchi e che il nostro pittore doveva aver visto per aver lavorato nel Valdarno, dipingendo una Madonna e Santi nella chiesa di San Francesco a Figline. La Madonna che doveva trovarsi al centro è andata perduta per l'inserimento in epoca successiva di un tabernacolo in muratura proprio al centro dell'affresco. L'opera viene datata entro il nono decennio del Quattrocento.
Annamaria Bernacchioni in Anna Padoa Rizzo (a cura di), Arte e committenza in Valdelsa e in Valdera, Firenze, Octavo, 1997, pp. 44 - 45



Itinerary in Central Italy | In the footsteps of Piero della Francesca

Art in Tuscany | Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists | Piero della Francesca


Art in Tuscany | Piero della Francesca in central Italy, an itinerary full of artistic and historical beauty


Andrei Tarkovsky shot Nostalghia in Tuscany in 1983. Highly cerebral, beautifully realized, and symbolically obscure, Nostalghia is a cinematic abstract of spiritual hunger. The film itself stands as a testament to Tarkovsky's own experience of nostalgia during his exile; in fact Tarkovsky calls the protagonist, Andrei Gorchakov, a "mirror" of himself
Andrei Gortchakov (Oleg Yankovsky), a Russian author, is on an Italian research expedition with his beautiful translator, Eugenia (Domiziana Giordano) to retrace the journey of an 18th Russian composer named Sosnovsky who, despite achieving international recognition away from his homeland, eschewed fame and returned to the humble life of a feudal serf, only to sink further into despair and commit suicide: the Madonna of Childbirth statue at a rural church where women pray before a statue of the Virgin Mary; a therapeutic hot springs pool in Bagno Vignoni where villagers bathe every morning, attempting to reclaim youth; an eccentric old man named Domenico (Erland Josephson) who once imprisoned his family for seven years in an apocalyptic delusion.
. "(...) The mise en abyme of Nostalghia is unique because the symmetry across scales (a story within a story) ultimately points back to Tarkovsky. (...) The first scene of the film, Eugenia and Gorchakov's visit to the Madonna del Parto, exemplifies Nostalghia's ambiguous agency. Gorchakov wants to see the painting because it reminds him of his wife. Tarkovsky chooses the painting because it reminds him of his wife. Tarkovsky also chooses the painting because it is not well known and, therefore, allows him greater artistic license in using it in his film. By contrast, heavily touristed sights like the Campidoglio require a total fidelity in order to be plausible to an international audience. At Piero's fresco, however, he can and does take great liberties manipulating the painting so that it "fits" in his film. (...)
When Tarkovsky returned in 1982 to film the Madonna del Parto for Nostalghia, he did not use the original in the Capella di Cimitero in Monterchi, but a reproduction installed in the crypt of a Romanesque church in Tuscania called San Pietro, some 120 kilometers away [17]. The church dates from 1093 and, as the seat of the diocese, was a thriving religious centre in the Middle Ages."

Films set in Tuscany | Nostalghia

James Macgillivray | Andrei Tarkovsky's Madonna del Parto
was filmed on several locations in Tuscany; Monterchi, where we find Madonna del parto by Piero della Franscesca, San Galgano near Siena, where the Abbazia di S. Galgano ruins are found; Bagno Vignoni where the Spa is located, and Tuscania.
Nostalghia.com Japan correspondent Kimitoshi Sato, a member of the now defunct Andrey Tarkovsky's Society of Japan, has provided some geographical information that should be helpful to those wanting to visit the various locations that were used during the shooting of Nostalghia. | The Geography of Nostalghia

Tempo di viaggio, 1983 - Italy (RAI2/Sovinfilm) / Director: A. Tarkovsky and T. Guerra, 63 min / 1:1.33 – 16 mm

The Soprintendenza of Arezzo is responsible for the local cultural and artistic heritage. Piero della Francesca's paintings represent the greatest inheritance of all. In the early 1980's the frescoes were severely damaged. Thus the Soprintendenza decided to begin a series of deep and comprehensive scientific and historic researches. Their aim was to single out the causes of the fresco detrimental conditions so to be able to find the right technique to restore the painted plaster as well as the building structure itself. The preservation of the masterpiece for future generations was the project real goal.

www.pierodellafrancesca.it

Carlo Bertelli, Piero della Francesca (Milan: Silvana Editrice, 1991) (English edition: Ithaca: Yale University Press, 1992) ISBN 88-366-0330-0

Attilio Brilli, In Search of Piero: A Guide to the Tuscany of Piero della Francesca trans. Deborah Hodges, (Milan: Electa, 1990) ISBN 88-435-3218-9

Bruce Cole, Piero della Francesca: Tradition and Innovation in Renaissance Art (New York: Harper Collins, 1991) ISBN 0-06-430906-1

John Pope-Hennessy, The Piero della Francesca Trail (London: Thames and Hudson, 1991) ISBD 0-500-55024-7

Marilyn Aronberg Lavin, Piero della Francesca: San Francesco, Arezzo (New York: George Braziller, 1994) ISBN 0-8076-1317-7

Marilyn Aronberg Lavin, ed., Piero della Francesca and His Legacy (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1995) ISBN 0-89468-203-2

Bernard-Henri Levy, Piero della Francesca (Paris: La Difference, 1992) ISBN 2729107851

Ronald Lightbown, Piero della Francesca (New York: Abbeville Press, 1992) ISBN 1-55859-168-0


The Madonna del Parto: preliminary studies (1988/'89) and restoration (1992/93)
| www.pierodellafrancesca.it

Sito ufficiale della Madonna del Parto - Monterchi Museum | www.madonnadelparto.it
Sito ufficiale della "Madonna del Parto" di Piero della Francesca, opera tra le più straordinarie ed enigmatiche del rinascimento conservata in Toscana, a Monterchi lo splendido borgo medioevale della provincia di Arezzo, paese nativo della madre dell'artista.

 

 
 
   


Holiday accomodation in Tuscany | Podere Santa Pia | Artist and writer's residency


     

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Podere Santa Pia
 
Podere Santa Pia, garden view, December
 
View from Podere Santa Pia
on the Maremma hills
         



Montefalco
Arezzo
Sansepolcro
     

Works by Piero della Francesca | Itinerary Sansepolcro Monterchi Arezzo

   

The painting of Piero della Francesca (1416 ca. – 1492) stands out as a noble effigy amongst the prestigious artistic testimonials guarded within the towns of the valley,. An artist who has left in his native Borgo Sansepolcro and the neighbouring Monterchi indelible evidence of his fervid work. The vast and prosperous plain of the river Tiber, crowned by mountains and gentle sloping hills and washed by the silver waters of the Tiber river are depicted in the landscapes he painted which form an important part of the legacy of 14th century Italian painting. The history of this artistic genius who up to the 19th century was more famous as a scientist, master of prospective and author of De Prospectiva Pingendi, starts in this region which had sheltered artists of various origins and cultures so that a vivacious climate of experiences, ideas and directions was generated which is reflected in a good part of the works which can still be seen in the area.

During the years when anonymous and unknown painters accepted important commissions in the valley, Piero della Francesca was signing the contract for the painting of the polyptych of the Misericordia (1445), a work destined for the church of the same name and which was transferred in 1901 to the local museum. The artist who had already assumed his humanistic traits after his Florentine experience of 1439 with Domenico Veneziano, fully developed the illumination possibilities of a gold background, transforming it into reflecting surfaces in which space is organised using the curves of the Virgin's cloak.
A sort of architecturally conceived niche therefore where the cylindrical figure of the Madonna of the Misericordia imposes herself in a perfectly axial position. On the right you can see Saint John the Baptist and Saint Sebastian while on the left are the paintings of Saint Andrew and Saint Bernardino of Siena. The upper panels depict Saint Benedict, Archangel Gabriel, the Annunciation of the Virgin and Saint Francis of Assisi whereas the painting finishes at the top with the crucifixion. In the side scenes, amongst the succession of the saints, the pilgrims Egidio and Arcano, the mythical founders of the city, are represented.
Piero della Francesca's repertory is authoritatively represented in the Civic Museum of Sansepolcro by the noble Resurrection, the very symbol of the city , by the Saint Julian originating from the deconsecrated church of saint Claire and by the saint Ludwig of Toulouse, a fragment of a fresco which was originally painted in the city's Palazzo Pretorio.
The Madonna del Parto ( the Madonna with child), was presumably painted before 1465 in seven working days. This can be verified by reading the information which the 'a fresco' technique, used by Piero gives us. The image of the Virgin is touching and human, characterised by the freshness of a girl just out of her teens. For many years the fresco formed the back wall of the ancient church of Santa Maria Momentana until in 1785, an earthquake destroyed it leaving only the wall of the fresco miraculously in tact. The work of art was successfully detached and housed in a church near Monterchi's graveyard from where it was removed in 1910 for restoration, and by complete chance it narrowly missed the 1917 earthquake which severely damaged its second home. Today it can be admired in the museum of the Madona del Parto in Monterchi.
The artistic splendour of the valley in the 15th century can also be admired by worthy painters such as Pietro di Antonio Dei (1448-1502), better known as Bartolomeo della Gatta, Luca Signorelli (1445-1523) and Pietro Perugino who have all left the imprint of their genius.

Sansepolcro

* Polittico della Misericordia, Museo Civico
* Resurrezione, Museo Civico
* San Giuliano, Museo Civico
* San Ludovico, Museo Civico

Whether coming from north or south, the bell towers of the Church of San Francesco and Badia, now the cathedral, welcome the visitor who in a flash undergoes an imaginary journey in the architecture painted by Piero della Francesca in his works. The town of Sansepolcro, grown up around a big Benedictine Abbey, has almost entirely maintained its medieval town plan and over the centuries, it has become further enriched with majestic renaissance and baroque buildings. Birth place to Piero della Francesca, in the Civic Museum, the memory of the master from Sansepolcro is preserved. Masterpieces like the complex and symbolic Resurrection, the polyptych of the Misericordia, San Giuliano and San Ludovico testify the artist of the early renaissance’s genius. The ‘Volto Santo’, a wooden cross from the Carolingian era is of great importance in the cathedral. Next to the cathedral you can find the Palazzo delle Laudi, built in mannerism style, today the town hall. Other artistic testimonials of the town are visible when crossing the historical centre: the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the church of San Francesco. Don’t forget to visit the church of San Lorenzo which houses a painting by Rosso Fiorentino depicting the Deposition of the cross. The heart of the historical centre is the Torre di Berta square where every second Sunday of September the traditional Palio della Balestra crossbow tournament is held. The costumes worn by the players are inspired by the paintings of Piero della Francesca.

Monterchi

* Madonna del Parto, Museo Madonna del Parto

Monterchi, on the border between Tuscany and Umbria, built on the top of an isolated hill which was originally known as Mons Herculis, the Mount of Hercules from which the name Monterchi derives, commands an enviable position, amongst the hills which roll down towards the Tiber valley, dotted with medieval churches and convents, including one which borders on the town walls. Even the true centre of Monterchi has maintained a medieval feel in spite of the destruction caused by numerous earthquakes. The narrow streets house small shops and characteristic eateries.
But that which has made Monterchi universally famous is the presence of an absolute masterpiece: it is the fresco of the Madonna del Parto (Madonna with child) painted by Piero della Francesca in about 1459, probably in honour of his mother, native of Monterchi. Majestically restored in 1992, today the fresco is protected by an ultra modern air conditioned glass structure and therefore it can be visited without pre-booking in the small museum dedicated to it which also shows a short film giving a historical and artistic profile to the work.
The visit to Monterchi is therefore the ideal coronation of the itinerary dedicated to the artist which obviously includes the works of Arezzo and Sansepolcro, but which relives the countryside of Monterchi which is so similar to those painted by the renaissance artist as well as the Madonna del Parto.

Arezzo

* Leggenda della Vera Croce, Cappella Bacci, Basilica di San Francesco
* Santa Maria Maddalena, Duomo

Arezzo stands on a hill in eastern Tuscany, just behind the Apennines between Tuscany and Romagna. The architecture of its centre is evidence of the town’s ancient origins: it was one of the main centres of the Etruscans and a strategic city in Roman times. The highest part of the town is typically medieval, dominated by the Cathedral and the Medici’s Fortress. The Gothic Cathedral has valuable works of art, including Magdalene by Piero della Francesca and precious glass windows decorated with historical scenes by Guillaume de Marcillat. Right in the centre of the town, the Piazza Grande encompasses a wide range of architectural styles. Besides the medieval towers, there stands the majestic Loggiato Vasariano - one of the most interesting architectural works of the Renaissance -, the Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici - a fine example of both gothic and renaissance style -, and the apse of the Parish Church of Santa Maria. On the third Saturday of June and on the first Sunday of September, Piazza Grande becomes the setting for the Giostra del Saracino, a medieval tournament. On the first Sunday of each month and on the previous Saturday, an important Antiques’ Fair is held in the piazza and in many areas of the historical centre. The Bacci Chapel in the Basilica of San Francesco is splendidly decorated with the extraordinary cycle of frescoes of the Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca, one of the finest examples of Italian Renaissance painting. In the simple one-nave Basilica of San Domenico, visitors can admire the Cross painted by Cimabue, one of his early works. With their beauty and architectural originality, many other churches and palaces pay tribute to Arezzo’s culture and importance throughout history, including the Abbey of Sante Flora and Lucilla, the Church of Santissima Annunziata, Palazzo Pretorio and Palazzo dei Priori and, just a couple of minutes away from the city walls, the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, and the Romanesque Parish Church of Sant’Eugenia al Bagnoro. The city museums - the Archaeological Museum Gaio Cilnio Mecenate, the State Museum of Medieval and Modern Art, Vasari’s Museum and House, the House & Museum Ivan Bruschi - allow visitors to admire extremely valuable works.

The theme of the cycle of the True Cross had been used by Agnolo Gaddi, a few decades before, in the Franciscan church of Santa Croce in Florence. One of its sources was a hagiographic compilation from the 13th century called the The Golden Legend, by Jacopo da Varagine. The frescos are placed on three levels on the back and side walls. On the back wall two key scenes are shown. On the left is The Annunciation, which was the first act in the human events of the life of Christ. On the right is Constantine's Dream, from which began the historical events to rediscover the True Cross, which then became I the victory Standard of the Christian monarchs. The other painted scenes represent episodes taken from the Old Testament and the events leading to the Finding of the True Cross by the Empress Helena. Piero della Francesca did not follow the chronological order of the events when he was designing the cycle but, instead he developed a symmetry between the various scenes painted; on the top level open air scenes were shown, in the middle court scenes and on the botto m level were battle scenes.

The main episodes depicted are:

1 Death of Adam; Seth meeting the Archangel Michael

2 The Adoration of the Holy Wood; the Queen of Sheba kneels in front of the wood from which the cross will be made and meets King Solomon

3 The burial of the Sacred Wood

4 The Annunciation to Mary

5 The Vision of Constantine

6 The Victory of Constantine (Constantine's victory over Maxentius at the battle of Milvian Bridge)

7 The Torture of Judas the Jew

8 The Discovery and Proof of the True Cross

9 The Battle of Heraclius and Chosroes

10 The Exaltation of the Cross

11 The Prophet Jeremiah

12 The Prophet Isaiah

13 An angel

 

Piero della Francesca and the Italian Courts

Piero della Francesca began travelling at an early age, spending most of his life at the most important Courts in Central and Adriatic Italy.

Perugia: the Baglioni’s and Domenico Veneziano
Perugia and the Baglioni’s Court were the first cultural centre where Piero worked.
It was in Perugia that the artist of Borgo Sansepolcro first met his guide and master: Domenico Veneziano.
They worked together on the cycle of frescoes The stories of the Virgin Mary, in the Church of Sant’Egidio in Florence.

Florence at the time of Cosimo il Vecchio
In 1434, when Cosimo de’ Medici came to power, Renaissance art had not yet expressed its full potential and was just about to develop, open to a wide range of new possibilities.
Although in Florence only the last remnants of the late Gothic style could be found, the style was nonetheless dominant throughout Italy.
Hence, while in Florence the second generation of figurative Humanism was already in full force, the last medieval remnants were still widespread throughout the rest of the country.

Ferrara and the Estense’s
In 1450, Piero della Francesca was invited to Ferrara by Borso d’Este (in sul più bello del lavorare fu dal duca Borso chiamato a Ferrara [at the peak of his activity, he was called by Duke Borso to Ferrara]). In fact, Piero did not go to Ferrara for Borso, but rather for his learned and refined step-brother Lionello, who succeeded his father Nicholas III in 1441, and presumably died on 1st October 1450.
Piero’s stay in Ferrara, of which no documents can be found, is nonetheless proven by the impact that Piero had on early Renaissance painting in Ferrara.
According to Giorgio Vasari, Piero painted “many rooms in the palace which were later ruined by Duke Ercole the Elder, who modernized the palace” as well as “a chapel” in Sant’Agostino – in truth, it was in Sant’Andrea Church of the Augustinians – which, at the time, was already “spoilt by humidity”.

Rimini and the Malatesta’s

In the early 15th century, the Malatesta’s dominance extended from Cesena to Senigallia; it also included Sansepolcro until 1434. The commercial and social connection between eastern Tuscany and the Adriatic coast was still fruitful in the 1450s, possibly prompting Piero to go to Rimini in 1451.
In the late 1440s, when Sigismondo Malatesta promoted a conscious renaissance of the arts, he summoned Leon Battista Alberti, Agostino di Duccio and Piero to his Court.
There ensued eclectic works combining humanistic ideals with essentially Gothic shapes: the most famous example is the Tempio Malatestiano, which Piero also contributed to.

Rome and the Pope’s Court
In 1458-59, Piero was asked to go to Rome by Pius II.
In the Eternal City, Piero’s art was deeply affected by ancient statues and architecture, which the artist could finally see at such close range - an ideal setting where to develop his monumental and a-temporal view of history.

Urbino and the Montefeltro’s Court
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.
The Duke was a learned man. He loved the theatre, was keen on philosophy, and entertained correspondence with the Florentine Neo-Platonist Marsilio Ficino.
The first evidence of Piero’s stay in Urbino dates back to 1469, when he was asked to complete an altar table for the Corpus Domini Confraternity, for which Paolo Uccello had already made the foot-pace.

[Source: www.mostrapierodellafrancesca.it]
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Resurrezione, Sansepolcro, Museo Civico

San Giuliano, Sansepolcro, Museo Civico (frammento)


San Ludovico, Museo Civico

Cappella Maggiore di San Francesco ad Arezzo


Piero della Francesca, Storie della Vera Croce: Battaglia di Eraclio e Cosroe, c. 1466, affresco, 329 x 747 cm, Ubicazione basilica di San Francesco, Arezzo

 


Narrative sequence

 

Santa Maria Maddalena, Duomo, Arezzo

 

Villa I Tatti

Perugia

 

Arezzo, Piazza Grande
Itinerary

Visitors are invited to discover Piero della Francesca’s works in the province of Arezzo, by following an itinerary going through Valtiberina, Sansepolcro, Monterchi - the native hamlet of Piero’s mother Monna Romana - and Arezzo.
The Upper Valley of the Tevere river, or Valtiberina, is on the far east of Tuscany, and takes its name after the river that runs across it up to the border with Umbria. In the past, Valtiberina represented both the border and meeting point between different civilizations, the Umbri and the Etruscans, the Bizantines and the Longobardi. Piero della Francesca, in Borgo San Sepocro itself, was able to perceive the secrets of space and light, reflecting them into his works.
The Civic Museum of Sansepolcro, the artist’s native town, holds four works, the Polyptych of Mercy, the Resurrection, San Giuliano and San Ludovico.

After visiting Sansepolcro, the itinerary continues in Monterchi, in Val Cerfone. In Monterchi, which stands on the top of a hill on the border with Umbria, Piero della Francesca painted the extraordinary fresco of Madonna del Parto, in the old church of Santa Maria a Momentana.
The itinerary continues and ends in Arezzo. A splendid town standing on a hill in eastern Tuscany, just behind the Apennines between Tuscany and Romagna, Arezzo used to be one of the most important Etruscan cities and later became a strategic centre for the Romans. Here, Piero della Francesca painted one of the most important masterpieces of the Renaissance. The Bacci Chapel in the Basilica of San Francesco contains Piero della Francesca’s frescoed cycle of the Legend of the True Cross, painted for the Franciscan church between 1452 and 1466. The Dome of Arezzo displays the fresco Magdalene (at the bottom of the left nave).

Questo articolo è basato sull'articolo Madonna del Parto (Piero della Francesca) dell' enciclopedia Wikipedia ed è rilasciato sotto i termini della GNU Free Documentation License. Wikimedia Commons contiene file multimediali su Piero della Francesca.