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Piero della Francesca - The Flagellation of Christ

by Alexandra Tuschka

This early painting by Piero della Francesca is characterized by its clear composition , by the flat colors and the monumentality of the architecture. Three men stand in front on the right, about whose identity there is no agreement to this day. They seem uninvolved in the action behind, where the flagellation of Christ is present but displaced into deep space. Perhaps Judas is to be seen here, but he would be seen without his ancestral attribute , the money bag. The fact that hardly any information has survived on the time and circumstances of its creation means that a single interpretation is not unanimously accepted to this day.

The flagellation, in turn, is carried out with only minimal movements; in general, the pictorial action appears rigid. Pontius Pilate is enthroned on the left, who does not make a face. The scourging column is crowned by a statue - its meaning is also unclear. At least here della Francesca proves his interest in antiquity .

The vanishing point, which was important in the early Renaissance, was also precisely implemented here. It lies on the central axis and divides the picture horizontally. The coffered ceiling and the tiles on the floor clarify the vanishing lines . This rationality of della Francesca's paintings can be understood not least on his theoretical treatises on mathematics. Della Francesca wrote three mathematical treatises.

Piero della Francesca - The Flagellation of Christ

Oil on tempera, c. 1470, 58.4 x 81.5 cm, Galleria Nazionale delle Marche in Urbino


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