Piero della Francesca

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Piero della Francesca was a renowned Italian painter, who ranks amongst the prominent and influential artists of the Italian Renaissance in the 20th Century. His work with frescos, intense concepts and composed depictions that explored various philosophies has inspired countless of artists. Some of his highly acclaimed and best known works include “The Legend of the True Cross” and “The portrait of Federico da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino, and his consort”.

Piero della Francesca was born as Piero di Benedetto dei Franceschi in 1416 in the Florence, Italy. The exact month and date of his birth remains unknown, however, historians have manage to reveal through several historical artefacts and chronologies that, Piero’s father worked as a tanner and shoemaker, and ran an affluent and prosperous household. Piero was appointed tutors who ensured he was well-versed and fluent in Latin. Very little is known regarding Piero’s training as an artist, however, history suggests that he received his earliest artistic training by several local masters who mainly dealt with Sienese art.

In 1439, notable painter Domenico Veneziano appointed Piero as his associate. Veneziano at that time, was involved in painting the frescos that were to decorate the hospital of Sta. Maria Nuova in Florence. Piero began to come under the burgeoning influence of the Renaissance style that was taking Florence in its grip. He began studying the works of other prominent and influential artists, for instance, the paintings of Fra Angelico and Masaccio, the statuary of Donatello and Luca della Robbia along with the Filippo Brunelleschi. Piero devoured the theoretical study done by renowned architect and influential humanist, Leon Battista Alberti, on the essence and significance of painting. All these had a strong and profound influence on Piero’s aesthetic sense and artistic style.

In 1442, Piero returned to Sansepolcro and was elected to the town council. Later, he was also made a member of the company of St. Bartholomew. In 1445, Confraternita della Misericordia commissioned Piero to produce a polyptych for him, Piero produced an iconic altarpiece, famously known as “The Misericordia Altarpiece” that demonstrates Pieor’s meticulous attention to symmetry and geometry along with the influence and inspiration he took from the work of other Florentine artists, such as Donatello and Masaccio.

In 1451, Piero produced his iconic portrait of Sigismond Malatesta in the Tempio Malatestiano, Ramini. In 1459, Piero was commissioned for several prestigious art projects by the Vatican that were to be done in Rome, however, unfortunately, these magnificent pieces have been lost. In 1452, he was commissioned for the decoration of the choir of S. Francesco, Arezzo, he worked on this project till 1466.

Some of Piero’s highly acclaimed and widely celebrated works include, “The Baptism of Christ”, “The Legend of the True Cross”, “Flagellation”, “The Madonna del Parto”, “The Resurrection”, “Madonna with Saints and Donor” and “Madonna of Humility in the Nativity”. In addition to his art work, Piero has written three widely read and influential studies that deal with business, mathematics and painting. One of them is the ‘De prospective pingendi’

 

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