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The Piero della Francesca Trail

Florence - Arezzo - Sansepolcro - Monterchi - Urbino

(+ Milan, Paris and London)

Piero della Francesca 1416 - 1492 (76)




A beautifully produced little "Tuscan travel guide with a difference", including an essay by Aldous Huxley who travelled over the mountains from Urbino to Sansepolcro in a bus in the 1920s to see "the best picture in the world"


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A coffee table sized art book published by Skira - everything that you would expect (lots of stunning plates including lots of detail) about the Arezzo "Legend of the True Cross" fresco cycle,  from one of the world's best art book publishers.




A large book with a detailed analysis of the artist and his works, and good reproductions of the latter.





The Piero della Francesca Trail (this page)


Revisiting Sansepolcro, Monterchi and Arezzo - November 2007


 An Autumn Sunday in Sansepolcro - October 2003 (with restaurants)


Chronology Entry


Sunset and other photos of  the Palazzo Ducale, Urbino




Florence:  Federigo's memorial to his second wife (Battista Sforza 1446  - 1472 (26)) and of course to himself (1422 - 1482 (60)) (CHRONOLOGY LINK) painted by Piero c1474 and now famously exhibited in Room 7 of the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.    Battista Sforza married the 35 year old Duke when she was 13, bore him seven daughters then a son, and died in 1472, aged just 28,  at the birth of the latter.


LINK to other portraits of the Duke.



Arezzo - The monumental fresco cycle representing the Legend of the True Cross in the Basilica di San Francesco in Arezzo.  



Above left - Battle scene detail  (Heraclius v Chosroes);


Above right - Solomon meets the Queen of Sheba;


Below - The Exaltation of the True Cross.


To get this essential level of detail, it is necessary to get a ticket next door for access to the area behind the altar (and buy the book shown above)



Link to the Web Gallery of Art descriptive pages on Piero's Legend of the True Cross Frescos







The Piero della Francesca Trail (this page)



Revisiting Sansepolcro, Monterchi and Arezzo - November 2007


 An Autumn Sunday in Sansepolcro - October 2003


Chronology Entry


Sunset and other photos of  the Palazzo Ducale, Urbino


Essay: "The Best Picture in the World" by Aldous Huxley  (PDF file)




Sansepolcro:   The Resurrection,  Pinacotecca Comunale


Regarded as one of the outstanding paintings of the Renaissance, in particular in the use of distorted perspective to achieve dramatic effect.  It is thought that the guard with the rippling muscles is none other than Piero!  The town was so proud of this work that there is a large viewing window on the opposite (street) wall with a stepped viewing balcony.  That did not stop them getting bored with it at one stage and covering it with plaster.


(see essay by Aldous Huxley "The Best Picture in the World")


"The Resurrection" is one of many paintings whose story is told in the DVDs "The Private Life of a Masterpiece" collection (right).






Sansepolcro:  San Ludovico da Tolosa (painted c1460) - a favourite image of the dom's.  Pinacotecca Comunale.



Sansepolcro:  San Julian, Pinacotecca Comunale (also thought to be a self portrait of Piero).  


Sansepolcro (Pinacotecca Communale):  Central detail (left) from the painted polyptych of the Madonna della Misericordia (right), Pinacotecca Comunale, Sansepolcro. 



Monterchi (near Sansepolcro):  Pregnant Madonna (Madonna del Parto)



A large fresco removed from the Monterchi church turned truncated cemetery chapel where it was painted, and until a few years ago could be seen.  It is now been moved from a converted school hall to a purpose built  building in Monterchi.


On the right is the face of one of the angels holding up the curtain.  Always wallow in the detail of all the faces if you visit the Renaissance fresco cycles because it is rare to find them reproduced as well as this!! 



Above:  The sublime Madonna di Senigallia, Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Palazzo Ducale, Urbino (right).  Urbino, whose attractions are pretty much limited to this evening view of the Palazzo and a visit to what is inside,  is a beautiful mountain drive away from Sansepolcro.  Best to stay the night somewhere to do it in a sane way.



Urbino:  The mysterious Flagellation (painting), Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Palazzo Ducale, Urbino



Milan:  Federico, Duke of Urbino, shown in the "Brera Alterpiece" by Piero della Francesca in around 1470

(Pinotecca di Brera, Milan)



Louvre, Paris:  Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (1417 - 1468 (51)) (painted 1451 - 1460), Lord of Rimini (in the Papal States).  "Cruel and pitiless" in his activities as condottiere, and at the same time a "cultured and magnificent protector of artists and writers" - typical Renaissance leader really.   But he also lacked judgement big time, taking on Duke Federico, then Francesco Sforza (Duke of Milan), then the Turks, and losing to all three.



National Gallery, London:  The Baptism of Christ


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