Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Madonna of Mercy & Madonna of Senigallia

December 12th, 2010, Promulgated by Bernie

Piero della Francesca, Polyptych of Misericordia (detail showing The Madonna of Mercy), ca. 1460

Piero della Francesca, Polyptych of Misericordia, ca. 1460, Tempera and gold leaf on wood, (Municipal Picture Gallery, Sansepolcro)

Piero della Francesca, Madonna of Senigallia, ca. 1470-78, Tempera on wood, (Ducal Palace, Urbino)

“Piero della Francesca (c. 1415 – October 12, 1492) is certainly one of the most important Italian painters of the XV century. His art was ample, monumental and rational, and represents one of the highest artistic ideals of the early Renaissance. The absolute mathematical rigour of his creations emphasizes the abstract and iconic traits of his paintings and adds a powerful religious feeling to his masterpieces.”1

“Francesca’s solid, rounded figures are derived from Masaccio, while from Domenico he absorbed a predilection for delicate colors and scenes bathed in cool, clear daylight. To these influences he added an innate sense of order and clarity. He conceived of the human figure as a volume in space, and the outlines of his subjects have the grace, abstraction, and precision of geometric drawings. Almost all of Piero’s works are religious in nature – primarily altarpieces and church frescoes in which he presents scenes of astonishing beauty, with silent, stately figures fixed in clear, crystalline space.”2

“The polyptych of the Madonna della Misericordia was his first documented work, and shows that he had studied and absorbed the artistic discoveries of his great Florentine predecessors and contemporaries…”  “The difficulty of dealing with a solid gold background, requested by the patrons of the polyptych, is solved here by Piero  placing the kneeling members of the confraternitas (who commissioned the altarpiece) in the realistic space created by the Madonna’s mantle, held open around the figures like the apse of a church. The Virgin is perfectly centered and seen frontally.”4

“…Piero managed to create an archetypal Virgin with attributes beyond the usual sweetness, docility, and humility. His Madonnas display an earthy strength and dignity,”5

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