Piero della Francesca (w/some cc)
John M. McMahon <mcmahon <at> LEMOYNE.EDU>
2007-07-01 01:14:59 GMT
"Painting, mathematics, and the work of Piero della Francesca"
"Not long after his death in October 1492, Piero della Francesca was already
better remembered as a mathematician than as a painter. Less than two
decades had passed before Pope Julius II was ordering the demolition of his
frescoes at the Vatican (along with those of other great painters of the
previous century) to make way for Raphael's. The list of lost frescoes by
Piero elsewhere, from Perugia, Florence and Ferrara, to Ancona, Loreto and
Pesaro, makes for melancholy reading.
The only complete cycle to survive was the 'Legend of the True Cross,' here
in the San Francesco Church in this little-visited town on the road between
Florence and Rome. The narrative constitutes a kind of history of the world
from the Garden of Eden, through the birth of Christ and the crucifixion, to
the victory of Constantine over the pagans and the rediscovery of the True
Cross, symbol of mankind's redemption.
Minutely analyzed over several years to avoid the kind of damage done to
other such works by overzealous cleaning, the painstakingly restored 'True
Cross' was unveiled in 2000, attracting less attention during the
event-filled year of the millennium than might otherwise have been the case.
Careful cleaning also brought to light, in the 'Dream of Constantine' scene,
the first known starry night sky in Western painting with scientifically
accurate renderings of constellations."