Format Hardcover
Publication Date 01/07/14
ISBN 9781605984940
Trim Size / Pages 9.3 x 6.3 in / 368

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Piero's Light

In Search of Piero della Francesca: A Renaissance Painter and the Revolution in Art, Science, and Religion

Larry Witham

The story of one remarkable artist of the early Italian Renaissance—a painter at the crossroads of our modern revolutions in art, religion, science—who remains a figure of enduring fascination in the twenty-first century.

In the heart of Tuscany, Piero della Francesca became a painter and mathematician at the dawn of the Renaissance, revealing his innovative mind in some of the best known images from that period, and in his unusual writings on geometry. Yet as a personality, Piero remains a mystery. He leaves an enigmatic legacy that ranges from the merging of religion and mathematics to his use of perspective to make painting a “true science.” In this engaging narrative, Larry Witham transports us to Piero’s tumultuous age, a world of princes and popes, soldiers and schisms. Piero’s Light also reveals how he was part of the philosophical revival of Platonism, an ancient worldview that would shape art, religion, and science’s transition toward modernity. Just sixteen of Piero’s paintings survive, but these images and his writings would fuel some of the greatest art historical debates of all time. Through Witham’s wide research, Piero emerges as a figure who marks a turning point in Western culture. Our past understanding of faith, beauty, and knowledge has been radically altered by a secular age, and the story of Piero helps us understand how this has taken place. The search for Piero has continued among both intrepid scholars and art lovers of all kinds, and it is no wonder: few artists in history take us as deeply into the intellectual excitement of the Renaissance as Piero della Francesca.

Larry Witham is author of more than twelve books, including By Design: Science and the Sea; Art Schooled; and Picasso and the Chess Player. He lives the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC .

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Endorsements & Reviews

“A story that will draw readers’ attention, compelling them to continue. For those interested in art, history, philosophy, sociology, or science.” Library Journal