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Piero della Francesca - degree of meticulous time-consuming...

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Piero della Francesca Slide 14-1: Statue of Piero in Sansopolcro, Piero's birthplace. Piero della Francesca (1420-1492) had two passions - art and geometry. He sought that link between an organic and geometric basis of beauty, what Kenneth Clark has called the Philosopher's stone of aesthetics. De Prospectiva pingendi Piero was one of the greatest practitioners of linear perspective, and even wrote a book on perspective, De Prospectiva pingendi (c.1474). This was his first of three books, the others were Trattato del abaco , and De quinque corporibus regularibus , both of which we'll mention later. Piero wrote his book on perspective thirty-nine years after Alberti's Treatise on Painting of 1435. It is considered as an extension of Alberti's, but is more explicit. Piero was evidently familiar with Euclid's Optics , as well as the Elements , whose principles he refers to often. Theory is fine, but did Piero practice what he preached? According to Martin Kemp,
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"The evidence of his paintings suggests that he did exercise an . . . extraordinary
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Unformatted text preview: degree of meticulous, time-consuming, geometrical care over the perspectival projection of architectural forms. . ." The Flagellation of Christ Slide 14-2: Flagellation of Christ , c. 1460 Let's pick up the thread with Piero's Flagellation , the slide with which we closed the unit on perspective. Talking about this painting, done fourteen years before he wrote his book on perspective, Kemp says, "No picture could exude a more pronounced air of geometric control and no painting was ever more scrupulously planned." This painting has been analyzed to death, and I even have a computer analysis locating the vanishing point to the nearest millimeter, in a painting that is 81,500 mm by 59,000 mm. If you extend the orthogonals to locate the vanishing point, it does not seem to fall on any point that is significant to the story. But Kemp shows that point does have geometric significance....
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