PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA
(b. 1416, Borgo San Sepolcro, d. 1492, Borgo San Sepolcro)
The Flagellation (detail)c. 1455
Oil and tempera on panel
Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino
The setting is the portico of Pontius Pilate's palace in Jerusalem, and scholarship suggests that Piero based details of the setting on descriptions of the palace and surrounding structures in Jerusalem. What has perplexed many observers is the placing of small figures of Christ and his tormentors at a distance at the left of the picture, while in the right foreground stand three large figures who seem to have no involvement with what is going on in the other half of the picture. Pilate, who observes the torture from a throne, is thought to be a portrait of Mahomet II, who conquered Constantinople.
The painting is signed on the lowest step of Pilate's throne.