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Entries in Umbrian Art (1)


Piero Della Francesca: a Supreme Quattrocento Artist

Piero della Francesca - The Flagellation - c. 1455 - Oil and tempera on panel, 59 x 82 cm - Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino (click photo for larger image)Piero della Francesca (c. 1416-1492) was an Umbrian painter whose serene, disciplined exploration of perspective came to be recognized in the 20th century as a major contribution to the Italian Renaissance. The vigorous volume of his figures, the dignity with which they are imbued, the spatial definition of his paintings, and, above all, his very original use of color and light define a style that has all the elements of the Renaissance, but is also one of the most original of all times.

This panel painting - one of his most famous - was executed by Piero during his first visit to Urbino. It contains subtle references to the situation of the time, which are very difficult to understand today. The theory that seems to be proposed most frequently is that the painting was commissioned as an attempt to favour the reconciliation between the two Christian churches, of the East and of the West, in view of the imminent Turkish attack on Constantinople. Both the presence of the character in the centre, dressed after Greek fashion, and an inscription on the frame ("convenerunt in unum") would seem to support this interpretation.