I traveled around Tuscany recently reading John Pope-Hennessy’s The Piero della Francesca Trail, a handsome book containing a perceptive analysis of Piero’s work. The Legend of the True Cross fresco in Arezzo is stupendous and is fascinating in relation to contemporary painting practice. The narrative is presented in a way that might intrigue Lars von Trier and the organization of the action and violence might impress Tarantino. In terms of visual complexity, perspective, mirroring, lighting, colour, scale and painting brio, the fresco is a veritable treasure house.
Last year David Reed wrote about a seminar he attended in 1968 with Philip Guston, who quickly spotted references to Piero in Reed’s early paintings. Guston was a great fan of Piero and later on Guston and Reed went to the movies together to see Sergio Leone’s For A Few Dollars More. Renaissance perspective, Italian Painting, spaghetti Westerns and the cinematic close-up – heady stuff. The excellent article Soul-Beating was originally published in Art Journal, and is available on David Reed’s website here.
Posted by Robert Armstrong