In Urbino in the Marche region of Italy, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the birthplace of Raphael, to visit the exhibition ‘Federico da Montefeltro and Francesco di Giorgio: Urbino crossroads of the arts’, in the magnificent Palazzo Ducale.
Palazzo Ducale, Urbino
The exhibition celebrates the 600th anniversary of the birth of Duke Federico da Montefeltro and, in particular, his relationship with the Sienese artist, sculptor and architect, Francesco di Giorgio (1439 – 1501).
Federico da Montefeltro, who was born in Gubbio in 1422, began his career as a mercenary captain. He seized the city of Urbino after the death of his half-brother Oddantino da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, in 1444. He then ruled from his palace in the city, where he assembled around him a large humanistic court. He lost his right eye during a tournament and subsequently had the bridge of his nose removed to improve his field of vision. Subsequent portraits, including that by Piero della Francesco, always depicted him in profile, only showing the left side of his face.
Piero della Francesca ‘Portrait of Federico da Montefeltro’ (1470 – 73) [Uffizi, Florence]
Around 1473 he established a relationship with Francesco di Giorgio, who had trained and worked in Siena. Di Giorgio would create a number artistic works for the Duke, as well as serving as an architect and engineer. More than eighty works by Di Giorgio and other artists are on show at the exhibition, which is divided into sections including paintings, sculptures, drawings, medals and detached frescoes.
Francesco di Giorgio ‘Madonna and Child with an Angel’ (c.1470 – 74)
Francesco di Giorgio ‘Flagellation’ (bronze relief, c.1480)
Francesco di Giorgio ‘Lamentation over the Dead Christ (terracotta, c.1486 – 89)
Francesco di Giorgio ‘Design for the interior of San Bernardino degli Zoccolanti’
Church of San Bernardino degli Zoccolanti, Urbino (burial place of Federico da Montefeltro)
Galleria Nazionale della Marche
It was also an excellent opportunity to explore the permanent collection in the Galleria Nazionale della Marche, in the Palazzo Ducale, which houses one of the world’s finest renaissance collections.
Fra Carnevale ‘Crucifixion’ (c.1450 – 60)
Unknown ‘The Ideal City’ (c.1470)
Justus van Ghent ‘Communion of the Apostles’ (1472 – 74)
Alvise Vivarini ‘Madonna and Child and Saints Francis, Peter, Paul, John the Baptist’ (1476)
Giovanni Bellini ‘Madonna and Child with John the Baptist and St. Elizabeth’ (c.1490 – 1500)
Luca Signorelli ‘Crucifixion’ (c.1494)