Room 66

Piero della Francesca

Piero della Francesca was both a painter and a mathematical theorist. Born in Borgo Sansepolcro, he received some local training but from 1439 could be found in Florence working with Domenico Veneziano. By 1445, he was back in his home town.

Piero is the master of serene, monumental painting. His balanced pictures, like his mathematical investigations, were intended to reveal the rigorous order of God’s universe. The rules of spatial perspective were the subject of one of his treatises. He also sought to understand the geometry of solid bodies and three-dimensional figures, an interest reflected in the ovoid faces and cylindrical tree trunks in his paintings.

Piero abandoned egg tempera paint for a more malleable oil medium which allowed him better to depict naturalistic landscape and luminous light effects. For all his clarity, however, Piero was sometimes deliberately enigmatic, including unexplained figures and bystanders to provoke thought.

Paintings in this room

Leonardo da Vinci: 'The Virgin of the Rocks'
The Virgin of the Rocks
Leonardo da Vinci