Piero Della Francesca by Douglas Graebner
January 28, 2009, 12:00 pm
Filed under: art

(From “The Best Picture,” by Aldous Huxley)

A natural, spontaneous and unpretentious grandeur – this is the

leading quality of all Piero’s work. He is majestic without being at all strained,

theatrical or hysterical – as Handel is majestic, not as Wagner. He achieves

grandeur naturally with every gesture he makes, never consciously strains after

it. Like Alberti, with whose architecture, as I hope to show, his painting has

certain affinities, Piero seems to have been inspired by what I may call the

religion of Plutarch’s Lives – which is not Christianity, but a worship of what is

admirable in man. Even his technically religious pictures are paeans in praise of

human dignity. And he is everywhere intellectual…All the turmoil, all the emotions of the scenes [The Arezzo battle frescos] have been digested by the mind into a grave intellectual whole.




Baptism of Christ, National Gallery, London


Flagellation,  Galleria Nazionale Della Marche, Urbino

Battle Between Constantine and Maxentius. fresco, San Francesco, Arezzo



The Dream of Constantine. Fresco, San Francesco, Arezzo


Resurrection,  Pinanoteca Comunale, Sansceporcolo


1 Comment so far
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The only essay worth reading in Michael Baxandall’s titillatingly titled Words for Pictures is the last one, which is a brilliant study of Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection.

Comment by jambavantha

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