Negli anni Settanta, Silvi, località balneare abruzzese in provincia di Teramo, era la “perla dell’Adriatico”. E se Rimini ha mitizzato gli anni...
Tucked away in a small corner of a little church in a small town exists a big fresco probably painted by huge renaissance painter Piero della Francesca of Arezzo.
This portrait of Saint Antonio Abate is located in the Pieve di San Paolo. Originally a Paleo-Christian baptismal church, San Paolo boasts a 14th century bell tower and 15th century frescoes painted by Lorentino d’Andrea.
Parish priest Natale Gabrielle said that he has known for awhile that the fresco painting is most likely by Piero della Francesca, and that those who frequent the Church regularly are quite familiar with it.
Art scholars have been studying this painting for years to determine its creator. Paola Refice, director of the Medieval Museum and president of the Piero della Francesca Foundation, works closely with Serena Nocentini, the commissioner of sacred arts of the Curia, on Piero’s paintings. Until now, they believed the painting was possibly authored by Agnolo di Lorentino, Piero’s prized pupil.
Refice announced that Saint Antonio’s face was definitely made with one of the cartons used for the Cappella Bacci, a 14th-century chapel in the Basilica di San Francesco in Arezzo. “Now we have to figure out if the rest of Saint Antonio’s body was also painted by Piero della Francesca. There are indeed elements that point in that direction,” Refice noted.
The Cappella Bacci houses the Legend of the True Cross, Piero’s famous sequence of frescoes. According to Refice, this stunning fresco cycle of the crucifixion of Christ may have been produced as early as 1447.
Born in Borgo Sansepolcro, Tuscany in 1415, Piero della Francesca is admired for displaying serene humanism and geometric forms, as well as experimenting with perspective in his paintings. Piero worked in the Basilica of San Francesco producing frescoes, which are Arezzo’s most famous art pieces.
Today, almost half of Piero’s masterpieces rest in Arezzo. At the Basilica di San Francesco alone, there are 13 stunning frescoes in the Legend of the True Cross. Visitors can certainly expect big things from little Arezzo.