PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA
(b. 1416, Borgo San Sepolcro, d. 1492, Borgo San Sepolcro)
3. Burial of the Holy Wood1452-66
Fresco, 356 x 190 cm
San Francesco, Arezzo
At the end wall of the chapel, around the stain-glass window and below the prophets were placed the Burial of the Wood (on the left) and the Torture of the Jew (on the right). These two stories were painted by Piero's main assistant Giovanni da Piamonte, who used the cartoons by Piero.
The scene of the burial of the beam is shown in a narrow panel. The diagonal beam, carried by several men, extends across nearly the whole picture, forming an X with the outline of the background mountain slope.
In the Burial of the Wood, Giovanni da Piamonte's heavy modelling draws the stiff folds of the bearer's garments and their hair, rather mechanically tied in bunches. On the Cross the vein of the wood, like an elegant decorative element, forms a halo above the head of the first bearer, who thus appears as a prefiguration of Christ on the way to Calvary. The sky covers half the surface of the fresco and the irregular white clouds are as though inlaid in the expanse of blue.