(b. ca. 1425, Urbino, d. 1484, Urbino)
Heroic Figure against an Architectural Backdrop1470s
Oil on panel, 46 x 32 cm
Villa Cagnola, Gazzada
This small, enigmatic and unfinished panel is painted on both sides. On the front of the panel is the figure of a youthful hero or young god on a podium made up of three polygonal plinths. The construction of the decahedron corresponds exactly to the geometric precepts set down by Piero della Francesca in his famous treatise. The ancient ruin in the background is a fairly faithful reconstruction of the Arch of the Argentari near the church of San Giorgio al Velabro in Rome. The arch is not only seen fully restored rather than in its actual state - in the Quattrocento it was partly incorporated into the church of San Giorgio al Velabro - but it is completed with a pediment.
On the back of the panel a fictive, geometric intarsia is represented.