PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA1 1416?-1492
WE have seen the interrelation of style between Central and Northern Italy. We have now to trace a connection between Central Italy and Florence.
On the borders between Florence and Umbria, a group of painters, Umbrian by local connection, developed under the more vigorous Florentine influence, and are usually designated as Umbro-Florentine. Various subordinate men express different phases of the style. Above these, three masters emerge--Piero della Francesca, the master-technician of his age, Signorelli, who immensely enlarged the scope of design in a quite modern spirit, and third, Melozzo da Forlí, who introduced certain motives hitherto unknown. All of them belonged to the realistic movement and followed Masaccio in spirit. Piero became a great leader. He anticipated the chiaroscuro of the next generation, and his trees have the breadth and intimate treatment of Leonardo before Leonardo's time. A pupil of Domenico Veneziano, building upon a study of Masaccio, and learning certain things from Uccello, he shows little Umbrian temper. He has superb constructive powers, dignity, and intense, quiet feeling, a unique colour-tone, pure and objective, and at his best a perfection of technique. Piero is one of the chief landscapists of Europe, but the student sees the decorative value in his landscape--its tissue and pattern--before the reality. He is, in truth, bound and narrowed to nature more closely than are the greatest Florentines. He is almost too specific to be of quite the highest imaginative____________________