Item Number: 144353
Title: The Realism of PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA ; Life and Work
Author: Keizer, Joost
Record created on 01/18/2017
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Available October 2017
Description: London-Ne York: Routledge, 2017. 25cm., hardcover, 194pp. illus.
Summary: Focusing on the work of the Italian painter Piero della Francesca (1412?-1492), this book studies the emergence of real-life experience in fifteenth-century Italian art. More specifically, the book studies a single painting by Piero, the famous Flagellation, painted in the late 1460s for Federico da Montefeltro, the Duke of Urbino. The central argument of the book is that this painting cultivates the illusion that it reports on things seen and witnessed, even when the event it depicts happened almost a millennium and a half ago and even when the place it represents was a city Piero had never visited. More than a case study, Piero’s Flagellation serves as a focal point for author Joost Keizer’s investigation into an array of problems raised by the dominant aesthetic category of the time, problems that continued to dominate the history of art until the late nineteenth century. The book includes a discussion of the culture of realism before and during Piero’s life, both in works of art and in fifteenth-century literary theory. It also explores how the artist employed mathematics in his paintings not in order to relate his work to the culture of science (which only defined itself as a culture after the middle of the sixteenth century) but in order to redefine the image in terms of realism. Keizer shows how calculus and geometry allowed Piero to make paintings that conveyed the impression of being systematic, ’depersonalized’ representations of reality.
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