PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA
(b. 1416, Borgo San Sepolcro, d. 1492, Borgo San Sepolcro)
Polyptych of the Misericordia: Madonna of Mercy1460-62
Oil and tempera on panel, 134 x 91 cm
Pinacoteca Comunale, Sansepolcro
The last part of the polyptych is this central panel showing the Madonna della Misericordia (Madonna of Mercy). The difficulty of dealing with a solid gold background, requested by the patrons, is solved here by Piero by placing the kneeling members of the confraternitas (who commissioned the altarpiece) in the realistic space created by the Madonna's mantle, held open around the figures like the apse of a church. The Virgin is perfectly central positioned and she is seen frontally.