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Marche VoyagerArt & Architecture | Piero della Francesca

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Long neglected, Piero della Francesca is now regarded as one of the greatest Renaissance painters - perhaps we needed Cezanne and Cubism to teach us to appreciate his perfect use of form and colour.

Born sometime between 1410-1420, he remained faithful to his native town of Borgo San Sepolcro (modern day Sansepolcro in Umbria) for the rest of his life despite travelling afar. In 1442 he was made a member of the Priori (town council), a post he retained until his death.

His earliest known painting is the Madonna della Misericordia at Sansepolcro but like many of his works it took years to complete; it was ordered from him in 1445 for delivery in three years but was finally paid for some 17 years later.

A master of the impersonal, his mathematical clarity and absence of sentimentality produced images whose spiritual depth still confounds us. Always seeking to redraw the boundaries of art, he was also a great theorist and wrote two of the most important treatises of his time on perspective.

The last record we have of him painting was in 1478 but he lived on until 1492 - tragically, blindness seems to have blighted his last years. To follow a pilgrim's trail of his works - yes, yes, we know only Urbino is in the Marche - visit the Uffizi in Florence to see his famous twin portraits of Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza, Arezzo for his great fresco cycle of The Legend of the Cross, Monterchi for the Madonna del Parto, Sansepolcro for his Resurrection, and Urbino for the Flagellation of Christ and the Madonna of Senigallia.



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