Battista Sforza and Federico da Montefeltro

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Piero della Francesca, Battista Sforza and Federico da Montefeltro, 1472
By NATALIE BEYER

First off, the man of this portrait has a Wicked-Witch-of-The-West nose and the woman is so white that she could be a ghost. However, a fun story attached to why they are facing inwards has to do with the Federico losing his right eye and breaking his nose in a tournament. So, the Duke and his wife decided that they should face different ways to mask his hideous misfortunes. Painted in front of a vast landscape of water and mountains, Federico, and his wife, Battista, wanted to show just how much power and wealth they had while also creating a piece that could be timeless. 

As Niccolo Machiavelli said, "lLove is held by a chain of obligation which, men being selfish, is broken whenever it serves their purpose." You may be thinking, how this quote could possibly apply to this painting? But I'm here to tell you that I found a way. When I first saw this paining, I thought that the man and woman were angry with each other. The Duke's face and the wife's overall unamused expression made me think that they did not want anything to do with each other. I felt as though the Duke was about to break things off with his wife.

Much like my art history education thus far, I came to conclusions far too quickly. Entering art history, I was going out of my comfort zone by taking the class and thought I would not enjoy it. However, I am glad that I took this risk and am excited to learn more about art. With Battista Sforza and Federico de Montefeltro, I judged their relationship instantly before really knowing their backstory.

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