After being hosted at the National Gallery in Washington DC, the exhibition on Piero di Cosimo moved to the Uffizi Gallery, where it will stay from June 23rd to September 27th. Piero di Cosimo (1462-1522) was a Florentine painter, contemporary to Botticelli and Leonardo Da Vinci in the most flourishing season of the Florentine Renaissance.
Piero di Cosimo
The exhibition makes evident the strong and original personality of the painter and his role as a protagonist of Renaissance Florence between the 15th and 16th century. The name of the painter was Piero, but he was a pupil of Cosimo Rosselli, another famous painter. That’s why he is remembered as Piero di Cosimo: “…was Piero, the son of one Lorenzo, a goldsmith, and a pupil of Cosimo Rosselli, after whom he was always called Piero di Cosimo, and known by no other name. And in truth, when a man teaches us excellence and gives us the secret of living rightly, he deserves no less gratitude from us, and should be held no less as a true father, than he who begets us and gives us life and nothing more.” Giorgio Vasari, in his Lives, shows how he estimates the talent and genius of Piero di Cosimo, also giving us an insight; looks like Piero di Cosimo assisted Cosimo Rosselli in one of the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel: “Right good reason had Cosimo, his master, for wishing him well, seeing that he made so much use of him in his works, that very often he caused him to execute things of great importance, knowing that Piero had a more beautiful manner, as well as better judgment, than himself. For this reason he took Piero with him to Rome, when he was summoned thither by Pope Sixtus in order to paint the scenes in his chapel; in one of which Piero executed a very beautiful landscape…”
Piero was a lonely and bizarre man, who didn’t care about social conventions. He was immersed in his fantasy and art and considered a waste of time even eating and sleeping. He prepared eggs cooking them in the glue he was boiling to be used in his paintings, he couldn’t stand any noise that distracted him from his work like children crying, or bells ringing or friars singing, and he was scared by thunderstorms, but he loved to walk into wild nature, getting enthusiast at a butterfly, a flower, or everything else that he was ready to depict in his paintings. His first works were influenced by the Trittico Portinari by Hugo Van der Goes (Uffizi gallery), a magnificent painting that was commissioned by the director of the Medici bank in Bruges and shipped to Florence. He joined Botticelli in representing ancient Greek mythological characters, a tendency that was established in the late 15th century thanks to the Medici family and their neo-platonic academy. In 1501, the return of Leonardo Da Vinci in the Republican Florence (and also the presence in town of Michelangelo and Raphael), was a turning point in the style of Piero di Cosimo. His works became filled with affection, including his best work, the Madonna and Child with angels, today at the Fondazione Cini in Venice (and part of the exhibition), where Jesus, held by a smiling Mary, embraces an angel and stops the music, pulling the bow from the violin. Only a genius and an excellent poet could have imagined such a scene.
In the rooms dedicated to the exhibition, it’s not possible to take pictures. That’s why I couldn’t add a photo gallery. The picture above is related to the nice multimedia room where a video with text (in Italian and English) explains in detail the works by Piero di Cosimo.