Montefeltro Altarpiece (1465) by Piero della Francesca

Montefeltro Altarpiece - Piero della Francesca - 1472

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Artwork Information

TitleMontefeltro Altarpiece
ArtistPiero della Francesca
MediumTempera on Panel
Dimensions248 x 170 cm
Art MovementEarly Renaissance
Current LocationPalazzo Brera, Milan, Italy

About Montefeltro Altarpiece

The artwork titled “Montefeltro Altarpiece” is a quintessential piece crafted by Piero della Francesca in 1472. This tempera on panel painting exemplifies the Early Renaissance art movement. Measuring 248 by 170 centimeters, it resides in the Palazzo Brera, located in Milan, Italy. As a religious painting, the artwork is steeped in symbolic significance and reflective of the era’s devotion to spiritual themes.

Delving into the composition of the Montefeltro Altarpiece, the scene is anchored by the Virgin Mary, who sits centrally, holding the Christ Child in her lap. The figures are arranged in a symmetrical composition that is both austere and majestic. Mary is depicted with a calm, solemn expression, emblematic of the era’s religious iconography. She wears a richly draped blue robe, a traditional color associated with her purity and divinity.

The child on her lap appears both vulnerable and serene, emphasizing the human aspect of the divine. Surrounding the Virgin are several saints and angels, each portrayed with individualized features and distinctive garments. Their solemn, introspective demeanors suggest deep contemplation and reverence. The artwork is revered for its use of perspective, which Piero della Francesca mastered to create an illusion of depth, drawing viewers into the sacred space of the painting.

To the lower right, a kneeling figure, presumably dressed in armor, can be seen, suggesting the presence of a patron or a significant historical figure, possibly the Duke of Urbino, Federico da Montefeltro himself, whose profile bears a resemblance to the portraiture of the Duke known from other works. This association with Montefeltro is strengthened by the inclusion of the artwork’s title, linking the patronage of the piece to the Duke’s court.

The architectural elements in the background, featuring a domed structure and intricate coffered ceilings, showcase the artist’s understanding of architectural design and reinforce the setting’s grandeur and harmony. Indeed, the use of linear perspective to organize the space reveals Piero della Francesca’s sophisticated grasp of geometry and his ability to unite the celestial with the terrestrial within a coherent pictorial space.

Overall, the Montefeltro Altarpiece is a testament to Piero della Francesca’s mastery of form, composition, and religious iconography, marking it as a masterwork of the Early Renaissance period.

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