Piero della Francesca. The seduction of perspective

Until 6 January 2019 at the Museo Civico di Sansepolcro.

Filippo Camerota, Francesco P. Di Teodoro In conjunction with the presentation of the restoration of the Resurrection by Piero della Francesca, at the Museo Civico di Sansepolcro, the exhibition Piero Della Francesca opens to the public on 25 March. The seduction of perspective. The exhibition, curated by Filippo Camerota and Francesco P. Di Teodoro, and promoted by the Municipality of Sansepolcro, is a project of the Museo Galileo of Florence with the collaboration of the Palazzo Magnani Foundation of Reggio Emilia and is organized by Opera Laboratori Fiorentini. For Mauro Cornioli, Mayor of Sansepolcro: "It is a great privilege to be able to represent the municipal administration of Sansepolcro when the true color of Piero della Francesca is unveiled to the world, after long years of restoration. It is also an extraordinary opportunity for visitors, to deepen the immense scientific culture of our most famous fellow citizen thanks to the exhibition Piero Della Francesca. The seduction of perspective, organized in environments adjacent to the frescoes ". The exhibition project, which is organized around De prospectiva pingendi, a treatise composed by Piero della Francesca around 1475, also aims to illustrate, through reproductions of drawings, perspective models, scientific instruments, plaquette and video, applied mathematical research to the painting by Piero della Francesca and the consequent legacy left to artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Daniele Barbaro and perspective theorists at least until the mid-sixteenth century. The exhibition also aims to show the public the two souls of Piero della Francesca: refined painter and great mathematician. In addition to being a Master of abacus, a Euclidean geometer, a scholar of Archimedes, Piero was also an innovator in the field of painting because for him, the latter, in mathematics and geometry, found its substantial foundation. Lastly, his writings, especially the De prospectiva pingendi, composed in vernacular for artists and in Latin for the humanists, began the great experience of Renaissance perspective. The exhibition is divided into eight sections that deepen the studies addressed by Piero in the course of his life. In the first section The perspective between art and mathematics, through the reproductions of some drawings, shows that De Prospectiva Pingendi is the first systematic treatise of perspective entirely illustrated, and the first in which the described procedures are mathematically justified. Divided into three books, the treatise explores in the first two books the perspective techniques for the plane figures and the geometric solids, in the third, for the more complex figures such as the human figure. In the second section The geometric principles, Piero's relationship with Florence is analyzed, when he arrives in 1439, to work with Domenico Veneziano aiperduti frescoes of Sant'Egidio. Through a panel that illustrates the perspective of the Trinity of Masaccio and some casts of the bas-reliefs of the Gate of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti, one can understand the great economic and cultural ferment of the lily city. Cities where the works of Donatello and Masaccio already manifested the extraordinary figurative innovation of Filippo Brunelleschi, with the invention of linear aprojective and where, for some time, writings of Leon Battista Alberti, like De Pictura, circulated a theoretical codification of the new linguisticsopittorico. In the third section The rules of the perspective drawing, through models and drawings, we understand that Piero was the first to really write for the artists. While Alberti was concerned with throwing the theoretical foundations of the new pictorial discipline and Ghiberti had wanted to summarize the optical premise, Piero concentrated on the rules of drawing. In fact, unlike Alberti, he extensively covered the treatise of numerous drawings, extremely precise, clean and of extraordinary finesse. His hand was able to draw very thin lines, real Euclidean signs that recalled the ability of the mythical Apelles. The "perspective" for Piero was essentially "commensurate", that is, a measured representation of the bodies on the surface of the painting. The picture for him was the "term" of the visual rays. On the picture, the observed quantities suffered an apparent decrease proportional to the observation distance. On this proportional principle the scientific thought of modern painting will be founded. In the section Geometrical bodies, the relationship between Piero and the mathematician Luca Pacioli is deepened. Here is analyzed the famous portrait of the mathematician, painting attributed to Jacopo de 'Barbari and kept in Capodimonte and another important treatise by Piero della Francesca: the Libellus dequinque corporibus regularibus. Concluded around 1482 and dedicated to the duke Guidubaldo, son and successor of Federico da Montefeltro, Libellus allows Piero to resume the theme of regular bodies already treated in the geometric part of Abaco, developing it in four parts, respectively dedicated to polygons, five polyhedra inscribed in the sphere, the polyhedra inscribed in other polyhedra, and the irregular polyhedra. And it is precisely through Libellus that Piero becomes the architect of that rebirth of interest for the polyhedra that will characterize the Renaissance and which is also witnessed by the wonderful "Leonardesque tables" that illustrate the De divina proportione by Luca Pacioli. With the section I masters of perspective, we can understand how, through the frequency with which Piero's drawings appear in the Quattrocento's tarsie and the friendship that bound the painter to the famous inlayers Lorenzo and Cristoforo Canozzi from Lendinara, the art of the carpenters was one of the first areas of diffusion of the pingendi Deprospectiva. Perspective inlays that the artist of Sansepolcro could surely admire during his stay in Florence, in the Sacristy of the Masses of Santa Maria del Fiore and that, in the years between 1474 and 1476, made the study of Federico da Montefeltro one of the greatest masterpieces of the Renaissance. In the section The architectural drawing: ichnographia, orthographia, scaenographia focuses on the interest in architectural design. For Piero, a good painter should possibly also be a good architect or, at least, know architecture about everything related to the design of the ornaments, from the proportions to the syntax of the classical orders. Through some reproductions and drawings of the human figure section, one can understand how Piero solved one of the most complex perspective exercises that can be imagined: the perspective drawing of the human head. To solve the problem Piero transforms the natural body into a geometric solid, dissecting the head with meridian and parallel planes, almost like a terrestrial globe. The last section The deceptions of the vision, analyzes, finally, the studies of Pierosugli deceives of the vision and the bizarre effects of the representation caused by forcing the relationship between eye and distance of observation, bringing Piero to finish the treaty with some exercises that anticipate the developments of anamorphosis. The exhibition concludes with a video that helps to make the geometric dimension of beauty that distinguishes the entire pictorial work of Piero della Francesca tangible. The catalog, edited by Filippo Camerota and Francesco Paolo Di Teodoro, is published by Marsilio.

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