Piero della Francesca and the Invention of the Artist

Machtelt Brüggen Israëls

Piero della Francesca and the Invention of the Artist

Machtelt Brüggen Israëls

Distributed for Reaktion Books

368 pages | 94 color plates | 5 1/4 x 8 1/4
Cloth $22.50 ISBN: 9781789143218 Will Publish December 2020 For sale in North and South America only
As one of the most innovative and enlightened painters of the early Italian Renaissance, Piero della Francesca brought space, luminosity, and unparalleled subtlety to painting. In addition, Piero invented the role of the modern artist by becoming a traveler, a courtier, a geometrician, a patron, and much else besides. In this nuanced account of this great painter’s life and art, Machtelt Brüggen Israëls reconstructs how Piero came of age. Successfully demystifying the persistent notion of Piero’s art as enigmatic, she reveals the simple and stunning intentions behind his work.
Review Quotes
Patricia Rubin, New York University
“Israëls’s book captures the essential clarity, truthfulness, and modernity of Piero della Francesca’s art in prose that skillfully evokes his technical mastery and subtle artistry. Piero’s career is followed chronologically and contextually and staged in terms of the roles he adopted and performed—pupil and master, citizen and courtier, devotee and scientist among them. Close looking and careful description reveal the intellectual rigor and expressive force of his paintings. The book is as magisterial as its subject in achieving a new and compelling perspective on his life and work.”
Carl Brandon Strehlke, Philadelphia Museum of Art
“Israëls’s text plunges the reader back into the fifteenth century so that Piero della Francesca’s art can be seen through his eyes and those of his contemporaries.”
Nathaniel Silver, William and Lia Poorvu Curator of the Collection, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
"Marshaling an impressive body of new archival, technical, and contextual evidence, [Israëls] returns us to the artist’s era, offering fresh perspectives on his frescoes, panel paintings, and manuscript treatises. Her carefully crafted and deftly written narrative allows us to peer over the artist’s shoulder, bringing us closer to Piero and the legendary artworks that earned him the nickname 'the monarch of painting.'"
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