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Piero della Francesca

Sansepolcro 1415 - 1494
Price range
3,000,000 USD +
Piero della Francesca with his sunlit and volumetric style, has long enjoyed a legendary status as a precursor of modern art.

Piero della Francesca with his sunlit and volumetric style, has long enjoyed a legendary status as a precursor of modern art. Born in the small Tuscan town of Sansepolcro, early on he was in touch with leading Florentine artists, notably Domenico Veneziano (ca. 1410–1461) whose limpid light he adopted and surpassed. He was a master of linear perspective and wrote treatises on the subject, stimulated by contact with the architect and polymath Leon Battista Alberti in Rimini, where both worked for Sigismondo Malatesta tyrant of the city. One of his first masterpieces is a fresco of the Resurrection, still in San Sepolcro and saved from destruction in World War II by an artillery officer who disobeyed his orders to shell the town. A severe and implacable Christ looms up before one of Piero’s arid and locally-inspired landscapes. In another fresco at Monterchi nearby, a pregnant Virgin is revealed by a pair of angels drawing aside a curtain. No painting so movingly expresses the joys and hopes of pregnancy and maternal tenderness towards an unborn child.

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Selected artworks
No fully attribued painting or drawing by Piero della Francesca has been offered in public auction in the last thirty years.  Works by the artist have been sold through private channels exclusively.
Notable exhibitions

Saint Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum, Piero della Francesca, 6 December – 11 March 2019. Curated by Tatiana Kirillovna Kustodieva.

Forlì, Musei San Domenico, Piero della Francesca: indagine su un mito, 13 February – 26 June 2016. Curated by Antonio Paolucci.

New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Piero della Francesca: Personal Encounters, 14 January – 30 March 2014. Curated by Keith Christiansen.

New York, The Frick Collection, Piero della Francesca in America: from Sansepolcro to the East Coast, 12 February – 19 May 2013. Curated by Nathaniel Silver.

Arezzo, Museo di Arte Medievale e Moderna, Piero della Francesca e le Corti Italiane, 31 March – 22 July 2007. Curated by Carlo Bertelli and Antonio Paolucci.


Books on Piero della Francesca

Machtelt Brüggen Israëls, Piero della Francesca and the Invention of the Artist, London, 2020.

Anna Maetzke, Piero della Francesca, Milan, 2013.

Carlo Ginzburg, The Enigma of Piero: Piero della Francesca, London, 2002.

John Pope-Hennessy, The Piero della Francesca Trail, London, 1991.

Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Artist, 1550, trans. Julia Conway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella, New York, 2009.

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