Sunday, November 1, 2015

Arezzo and Della Francesca

After leaving Cortona, we headed to Arezzo for sightseeing the town and the art.

Here is the Piazza Grande, and at one time (I think) I knew the significance of the shields on the buildings.  I'm also pretty sure that DH told me what they were, but that information seems to have slipped out of my brain.  If he reads this and sends me an email with the information, I'll pass it on. At any rate the next five photos were all taken in that Piazza.

We made our way to the Church of San Francesco where we stood stunned first at the beauty of the church itself (happened every time!) and then stood and looked, and looked, and looked at the incredible frescoes of Piero della Francesca. It's hard to believe, hard to assimilate, that one is actually in the presence of art that is beyond belief.  How do I describe how it feels?  How do I find the right words?  Telling you we "drank it in" is too glib, and telling you that I will remember and treasure these moments for the rest of my life both hyperbolic and not true (after all, I can't even remember why I entered a room more than half the time!).  Here is a ceiling,

and here is a stained glass window.

And here is where the "True Cross" frescoes of the master are.

Just one of the frescoes:

And a close up of the lower right hand side:

Now you know that I am smitten by the work of Luca Signorelli, but that admiration is equalled by della Francesca.  They are quite different to me.  This artist is vested in the spirit and the things of Heaven.  I am not talking about the religious subjects; after all, Signorelli's works I've shown are also religious subjects.  The difference is that della Francesca's humans are "of the spirit".  Look at their faces especially the eyes.  Then look at the bodies. Which do you think is more important in these works?

On the other hand, Signorelli is vested in the physical.  I'm not diminishing the force of the stories he tells or the religious/spiritual message.  Nor am I saying that I think Signorelli didn't care about spiritual matters.  How could I when one sees those attributes so clearly in his paintings.  But just look at the importance of anatomy to him.  To him, we are creatures of the flesh, and he wants to record that while telling stories.

Compare the faces and then compare the figures.  What do you think?


  1. I don't know which is which -- but I will say I do love all the old churches that have this type of work in them. The people who painted these and made those windows are just unbelievably good artists. Oh, and is that woman making bread outside the church?

  2. I'm always amazed at how you spend time thinking about the significance of the artist's vision. They are distinctly different artists. I wonder whether the worshipers responded differently to the vision of each artist. One is definitely more ethereal while the other is corporeal. Those masculine legs must have made some young maidens blush.