Saturday, April 11, 2009
The Resurrection by Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca (c. 1415- October 12, 1492) was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance. During his lifetime he was known as a mathematician and geometer , as well as an artist. His mathematical background is obvious in his paintings, especially when it comes to perspective.
"The Resurrection" was finished around 1460. The fresco hangs in the Museo Civico of Sansepolcro (Tuscany) which was the artist's hometown. It measures 7ft 5ins by 6ft 7ins.
Christ is the center of the picture portrayed at the moment of His Resurrection, strong and ready to begin the next phase. The sleeping soldiers beneath are symbolic of human frailties. Like the apostles in Gethesemane. The soldier in brown is said to be a self portrait of Piero.
You can see a definite geometric design with the soldiers forming the base of a triangle, or pyramid and Christ at the pinnacle.
Then there is the background landscape, which in a sense are two different landscapes. On the left, the trees are bare, it is winterlike. On the right, we have spring. The Resurrection has led us from the bleak and barren to the new, fresh beginnings, new hope for mankind.
Interesting tidbit - Sansepolcro escaped artillery fire during World War 2 because the British captain charged with the task had read an essay by Aldous Huxley which described The Resurrection as "the greatest painting in the world". Captain Antony Clarke had never seen the painting but at the last moment (shelling had already begun)remembered where he had heard of Sansepolcro and ordered his men to stop. A message received later informed them that the Germans had already retreated from the area — the bombardment hadn't been necessary and the town, along with its famous painting survived.