Piero Della Francesca – Engineer of Paintings:
In contrast to artists before him, Peirro Della Francesca was engineer of his paintings. He did not use his intuitions but a ruler and measurement. For instance, he used to measure the center of a face and evaluated ranges of faces, till finding “proper” ones.
I may conclude that despite Francesca’s ambition to combine professionalism in the paintings; he had to face many difficulties which reduced his success. First of all, after making the “professional” painting, many repairs had to be maid using intuition and talent. Likewise, when painting big frescas, or very high ones – the professionalism’s efficiency was reduced to a ridiculous level that it wasn’t applicable.
The following picture is consists a scene that will later be explained. For now, you are to behold the professionalism in the picture. You may notice the way this picture is static, similar to a sculpture somehow.
Piero Della Francesca Presents: The Resurrection
In the following fresca (wall painting), “The Resurrection”, Piero Della Francesca tells us about Jesus ascent to the sky. After being crucified, Jesus is buried and his grave is guarded by soldiers. On Shabbat night, Jesus is taking down the stone on his coffin and revives.
While the conventional critics describe the soldiers as if they were waking up and fainting because of “Jesus’s Radiation”, I suggest that the story actually emphasizes the stench fades from Jesus’ legs. You may find some evidence to my opinion on the guard who is covering his face. Looking at the picture that way, the picture is more like a caricature/satire, which mocks the situation.
In a different fresca, one of a series of 10 pictures (4 meters in size each). The pictures are describing one of the naïve but beautiful stories of Christianity, which was very famous at the time of the painter. The series is called ” The Legend of the True Cross “:
The stories took place at the time of Justinian, the Byzantium Emperor (c. 482 – 14 November 565). Rumors published one after another, insisting that the cross which was used to crucify Jesus can be found. The rumors reached even Justinian’s associates, as many of them started searching for it.
The “search for Christ” trend led to the birth of a myth. According to that myth, the wood which was used to create the cross could be used as a medicine for any illness. The first woman, Justinian’s wife, Helena, reached the province Juda (Israel of today) and started torturing Jewish people in the name of that myth so that they will “admit”/”confess” where is the desired cross.
One of the Jews took Helena to the place where what he claimed to be the “cross” laid that day. Helena brought the fabricated cross to her town, starting a campaign to “prove” the locals, that they behold the desired wood.
The “proof” was that the wood can be used to revive people, and many gathered around her majesties’ ceremony. A dead young male’s body was brought naked with the attendance of influential people to observe. The dead body woke up, and put his hand on a strategic part on the dress of the woman near him, proving that it was indeed the healing cross.
In our fresca, the young male is indeed near the woman, although you would have thought it would be inappropriate to exhibit a naked male putting his hand on the dress of the woman. The man is beholding the desired wood (or desired dress) and wakes up.
In a series of pictures talking about “the Legend of the True Cross”, there are main rules given to Jewish characters. All the characters are portrayed negatively as it is a commandment in Christianity to mock and torture Judaism. When the common believer studies the “appropriate” apply to Judaism, many stereotypes play a major rule in preparing him for them.
The time of pierro was a time in which painters concluded that it is possible to find out the sizes of heroes. Finding them by the sizes of the pictures. The proportions of the sizes allowed them to make the heroes bigger and bigger, what was comprehended closer to reality.
The problem of that time was how to dealwith optics rules to make pictures more realist. They figured out a few techniques to get the pictures closer to a photo.
One technique I like is changing the perspective using the size of the item in the story. For instance, if the face is close, the nose will be painted bigger. If the hero is getting farther and farther, the nose gets smaller till being invisible. The question that is immediately raised is how to make a variation between many characters to make them all get their place.
Even though, it is not the only technique. Another technique is to process part of the pictures details as the object gets more and farther. In other words, when close – the object’s eye’s colour is visible; but when far – this trait will be lost. But not the colour was important but also many other details, such as the buttons of shirts. With the years, the research about this subject has gone large.
In the following picture, “Flagellation Of Christ”, these techniques play a major rule. The perspective is very important here as some of the participants are close to us while some far; and this usage of perspective made this story a famous guidance for “the right way of painting”.
The first artist to doubt this ideal of realism was only 400 years later, Paul Cézanne, which was humanly understood mocked and disrespected. This rebel, who’s considered by some the greatest painter in the world, gave the answer to theoretician’s great question: “How to get the painters far from being too realistic”. The norms painters led abstract painters to stay abstract forever; but when one starts to paint realistically – he was not “from their team anymore”.
Madonna Of Mercy/Madonna della Misericorddia
The following picture was painted in Burgo; where Piero worked as the secretary of the city. Piero used to create a number of pictures for the church, using the “Fresca In Tempera” technique. First they used to dilute the colours in water, these were the frescas, after that they passed to using eggs and finally they worked with oiled (using kinds that took them hours to dry). One of these pictures was “Madonna of Mercy” (Madonna della Misericordia).
I would like to focus on the message of the picture, as it delivers a social say. The Madonna calls all those who are in trouble to take cover under her wings, while promising not to check the reasons they are coming to serve her.
It may be relevant to say that many people, due to army conflicts, lost all their property; and the church tried to direct them into a different life route.
I believe that in the picture, the Madonna is closing her eyes in order to express that she ignores the circumstances of her followers. Observing the picture from Wikipedia, the Madonna may look as if her eyes are open. Even if agree that this picture presents the original finely, you may agree that they are almost close. Nevertheless, I believe that the picture on Wikipedia has been edited threw the years to remove the message. I observed many books and read people’s opinions, and there is quite a consensus that at least the message is that her eyes are close.
The picture is based on these two ideas:
1 The church will accept you all 2 We won’t ask about the circumstances
This concept of mercy, we take it for granted. Those who wish for a roof, drinking water and food, they look at life from different perspective. That way, the church, by the name of Saint Anton, accepted everyone to live in it. The only condition was that they would pray 5 times a day. The church did not want people to work, quite the opposite; it used to send them to beg for alms.
From the 15th century, the churches started to apply mandatory work as a stipulation for support. The churches controlled lands that had to be taken care of, and the poor stopped asking for money.
In the picture, you may see some people under the sings of the Madonna. The Madonna wishes to allow every man to take cover in her monasteries, promising to ignore his/her life circumstances.