the flagellation of christ was one of the major works of which renaissance artist
Another explanation of the painting is offered by Marilyn Aronberg Lavin in Piero della Francesca: The Flagellation.
The overall composition is very tightly controlled, both in its narrative content and appearance. The composition is split between two scenes, separated by the column supporting the temple in which Jesus is being scourged. (The two scenes may even have different time frames, as the flagellation scene is lit from the right while the foreground scene is lit from the left.) Piero’s use of perspective in this picture is especially noteworthy. In most religious art of the 15th century, the vanishing point – the visual focus of the picture – was usually the face or figure of Christ. In this work however, the vanishing point lies in the middle of the picture, near the right hem of the scourger’s robe. Exactly why Piero chose this approach is unclear, although the use of a central vanishing point typically creates a powerful impression of balance and stability, both of which were among the artist’s major concerns. Having absorbed the work of earlier painters, such as Masaccio – see his Holy Trinity (1428) and Tribute Money (1425-7) – Piero Della Francesca produced what is arguably the ultimate exemplar of quattrocento linear perspective.
The trio of male figures in
the right foreground of
According to a conventional interpretation still upheld in Urbino, the three men would be Oddantonio da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino between his advisors, Manfredo dei Pio and Tommaso di Guido dell’Agnello, who were murdered together on July 22, 1444. Both advisers were held responsible for Oddantonio’s death due to their unpopular government, which led to the fatal conspiracy. Oddantonio’s death would be compared, in its innocence, to that of Christ. The painting would then have been commissioned by Federico da Montefeltro, who succeeded his half brother Oddantonio as Lord of Urbino. According to another interpretation, the two men to the left and right of the youth would represent Serafini and Ricciarelli, both citizens of Urbino, who allegedly murdered Oddantonio together with his two bad advisors. Against these interpretations speaks the written contract signed by Federico and the citizens of Urbino, ´that he would not bear in remembrance the offenses inflicted on Oddantonio, that no one would be punished for it and that Federico would protect all who may be compromised in these crimes´. Moreover, Oddantonio’s corpse was buried in an unnamed grave. A painting dedicated to the memory of Duke Oddantonio and to his rehabilitation would thus have been a case of betrayal to the citizens of Urbino.
The Flagellation of Christ (probably 1455–1460) is a painting by Piero della Francesca in the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche in Urbino, Italy. Called by one writer an “enigmatic little painting,” the composition is complex and unusual, and its iconography has been the subject of widely differing theories. Kenneth Clark placed The Flagellation in his personal list of the best ten paintings, calling it “the greatest small painting in the world”.
Sandro Botticelli. 1445 – 1510
Humanism and Christianity.
Also in Borgo San Sepolcro around this time he painted the Baptism of Christ, which uses geometry to great effect, for example in placing the dove at the centre of the circle forming the top of the painting. The hills around Borgo San Sepolcro and the town itself appear in the background of the scene.
Not only do the frescos show that Piero is complete master of perspective but they also show a remarkable treatment of light. Piero uses light, combining shadow and shade, to make the figures 3-dimensional. Light is also used in conjunction with perspective to create the illusion of depth in the scenes depicted.