Piero della Francesca's modern, innovative style proved popular among his 15th century contemporaries, but quickly fell out of fashion. It would be rediscovered some five centuries later, with a renewed appreciation of his distinctive, outstanding work.
Little is known of his early life, but his short stay in Florence in his 20s left an indelible mark on della Francesco, influencing his work throughout his career. This fascinating programme examines that important period and travels in the footsteps of the great painter as he travelled around Italy, leaving signs of his work in Rimini, Perugia, Urbino, Ferrara, Venice and Rome.
Sadly, many of his works do not survive, but those which do reveal much about this unique artist. His masterpieces demonstrate his understanding of the use of light, the influences of his surroundings and, most notably, his dedication to the mathematical study of proportion and perspective - the geometric forms make his surviving paintings stand out dramatically from other Renaissance works.
As well as visiting the places which influenced della Francesco and discovering where the touches of his brush left their mark, we also enjoy his surviving masterpieces in spectacular footage and lingering close-up. The processes, meaning and importance of each are full explored, including the breathtaking Legend of the True Cross at the Franciscan Church in Arezzo.
A study of the portraits and works commissioned from della Francesca reveal how art and architecture became one of the battlegrounds in the ongoing struggle for political power. While there are reflections of the social turbulence of the time, the works also demonstrate the tranquility of the Italian countryside - another quality of della Francesca's work which has earned him his place among the Great Masters of Art.