The resurrection. Piero della Francesca. 1460. Museo Civico. Sansepolcro, Italy. [below] detail of artist in painting. Sansepolcro, the birthplace of Francesca, translates as '*holy sepulchre*'.
| During his teens [ca. 1439], Francesca studied his craft in Florence while working under Dominico Venezian on a series of murals for the hospital Santo Maria Nuova. It was also during this early part of his career that he began exploring the relationship between mathematics and art. One treatise authored by him,* On perspective for painting*, is the first to deal with the mathematics of perspective [creating a three dimensional effect in two dimensional works]. *The baptism of Christ,* originally part of a triptych, displays Francesca's utilization of the golden mean in the composition of the work. The golden mean, or phi, describes a ratio found in nature and it is expressed as *a is to a+b as b is to a*. |
Over his career Francesca became an accomplished mathematician and geometer. This mathematical knowledge influenced his art as evidenced by his use of foreshortening, geometric forms and innovative perspectives. *The resurrection* is one of his mature works and features the artist as one of the sleeping soldiers at the feet of Christ. The painting is set at dawn, at the very moment of resurrection. The theme of new life is mirrored in the trees in the background, with the trees on the left still leafless and dormant and the trees on the right flush with growth. | |