The Resurrection

8:20 AM

Piero della Francesca, The Resurrection, 1463-1465

"History: a subject which must not on any account be neglected by one who aspires true cultivation" - Leonardo Bruni

Piero della Francesca grew up in Sansepolcro, Tuscany. Sansepolcro means "Holy Sepulcher," alluding to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. It is believed that Jesus was both buried and resurrected at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, so it is quite fitting that Francesca painted this painting of Jesus' resurrection in Francesca's hometown, which is named after the site at which the resurrection occurred. This painting was no coincidence. Francesca knew his history and created the perfect piece to be a symbol for his town. 

When looking at the painting and thinking about Bruni's quote, we must think about Jesus and his teachings. One of the main teachings of Jesus is to spread peace and love. This belief dates back to 4 BCE when he was born and continues to influence people well after his death around 30 ACE. Today, Christians study the history of Jesus' life and teachings. His beliefs from 2,000 years ago still influence people today. This shows how sometimes history is not neglected, but instead taught  thoroughly by people who aspire true cultivation by aspiring to be a "good Christian." 

When looking the painting itself, the composition is well balanced, with Jesus in the center of the painting and two guards falling on either side of the center line. Jesus' body splits the painting. On the left side everything is barren, especially when you look at the trees. On the contrary, the other side has full trees. For this painting we can think about more than one definition of cultivation. We already discussed cultivation as "the process of trying to acquire or develop a skill," but now we look at cultivation as "the action of cultivating land." Only the right side of this painting appears viable for planting crops. Not everything, even with the presence of Jesus, can be cultivated. Similarly, we can study and fill our finds with knowledge, but sometimes certain skills are hard to cultivate.

Overall, I like this painting because it is more complex than it appears at first glance. Like I mentioned above, the background is split my Jesus' body. Also, Jesus' is depicted as strong, not weak as the circumstances may have suggested. While he is standing tall, the guards are all on the ground asleep. I like the color of the guards outfits; the pop of color is refreshing in the desolate painting. Also, I agree with Bruni that history is an important subject to learn about, which is why I enjoy looking at paintings like this one, which teach me about subject matters I am not knowledgable on in a time period I have not studied in depth.    

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