Vasari's Lives of the Artists Chapter XII: Piero della Francesca.

It's been a while since I blogged about Vasari - my reading / blogging block (from which I am definitely starting to come out of) has been holding me up rather! That said, I've decided to make this the last Vasari post the last until 2018 - as long as I'm not entirely out of the blogging block, I think attempting regular posts on something I'm not completely enthusiastic about is a mistake, and I reckon, if previous form will repeat itself, I'll be more enthusiastic about long reads! As I already read the della Francesca chapter before coming to a decision, here's the briefest of synopses and a selection of his works.

The Life of Piero della Francesca, Painter from Borgo San Sepolcro
[c. 1420 - 1492]

Truly unhappy are those who, after labouring over their studies to give pleasure to others and to leave behind a name for themselves, are not permitted either by sickness or death to bring to perfection the works they have begun. And it often happens that when such a person leaves behind him works which are not quite finished or that are at a good stage of development, they are usurped by the presumption of those who seek to cover their own ass's hide with the noble skin of the lion. And if Time, which is said to be the father of Truth, sooner or later reveals what is true, it is none the less possible that for some period of time the man who has done the work can be cheated of the honour due his labours; this is what happened to Piero della Francesca of Borgo San Sepolcro.
In his lifetime Piero della Francesca was more known for arithmetic and geometry, the latter of which he would apply to art with great success. He grew in fame, even worked for Pope Nicholas V, however there was a rather spiteful attempt to erase his name from history. Vasari writes,
The man who should have tried his best to increase Piero's glory and reputation since he learned everything from him), instead wickedly and maliciously sought to remove his teacher Piero's name and to usurp for himself the honour due to Piero alone by publishing under his own name - that is, Fra Luca del Borgo - all the efforts of that good old man who, besides excelling in the sciences mentioned above, also excelled in painting.
Vasari goes on to describe some of his works. Here are a selection:

Detail of The Legend of the True Cross (Solomon meeting the Queen of Sheba) (1452).

St. Sigismund and Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (1451).

The Penance of St. Jerome (1450).

St. Michael (1454).

Detail of Annunciation (1452-58).

Madonna and Child (1460).

Archangel Gabriel (1445-62).

Exaltation of the Cross: Heraclius enters Jerusalem with the Cross (1464).

Portrait of Battista Sforza (1465).

Federigo da Montefeltro (1465).

Procession of the Queen of Sheba (1452-66).

St. John the Evangelist and St. Nicholas of Tolentino (1454-62).


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