Madonna of Senigallia – Urbino - Piero della Francesca

 

The Madonna of Senigallia, one of the masterpieces of Piero della Francesca, an oil on paper transferred on a walnut table (size 61 x 53.5 cm.), was made between 1470 and 1485, probably commissioned by Federico da Montefeltro on the occasion of his daughter Giovanna's marriage with Giovanni della Rovere, then lord of Senigallia.
The work, preserved for many centuries in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Senigallia, is located since 1917 at the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche (National Gallery of the Marche Region) in Urbino.
The scene shows a standing Madonna and Child with Two Angels, inside a house. The cutting of the painting is unusual and shows the characters as half figures, cut from the bottom edge of the painting. The Child in the act of blessing, holding a white rose, a symbol of the Virgin's purity, with a necklace of red pearls with a coral, an archaic symbol of protection of infants, which - in religious scenes - also had a premonition of the Passion value because of its blood-red colour. In the background, on the right you can see a cupboard with shelves framed by a frame carved with a candle-holder, as the ones which were in the Ducal Palace in Urbino (although it does not portray any particular one), whereas on the left opens, in the Flemish manner, another environment from where a dual beam of sunlight comes, through an open window, refracting on the shaded wall not before lighting up the atmospheric dust along its trajectory. Then the light draws reflections on the reliefs of the niche decoration, the small still lifes of the basket with the linen cloth and of the ivory cylindrical box into the closet and then in the hair, in the clothes and in the jewels of the four protagonists. The light passing through the glass without breaking it, is also a metaphor of the incarnation mystery, which runs through the body of Mary, in the conception and birth, without violating it. Because of the lack of support points between the figures and the space it is impossible to determine the distance from each other, making the protagonists appear very close to the viewer.
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Attachments:
"Terre di Piero" map

 
 
 

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