Piero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence
Gretchen Hirschauer and Dennis Geronimus et al.
Born in 1462, an auspicious time for hopeful young painters in Renaissance Florence, Piero di Cosimo left the city’s artistic landscape forever changed upon his death in 1522. A contemporary of luminaries such as Botticelli, Leonardo, and Michelangelo, Piero was esteemed in his day as a creative spirit of uncommon imagination, his fantastic inventions rivaling the verses of the ancient poets whose myths and allegories he set out to transform in a strange language all his own. As his impressive list of patrons attests, Piero used his creative license to great advantage, concocting elaborate fables, some of whose meanings continue to beguile us. Once adorning the private palaces of wealthy merchant-bankers, these surreal myths proved as irresistible as a siren’s song to Salvador Dalí and Max Ernst five centuries later. But fantasy was not Piero’s only preserve. Equally appealing to his prospective Renaissance clients was his versatility as a painter of both sacred and profane styles and subjects. This artistic range will be on display at the National Gallery of Art in the first-ever retrospective of Piero’s astonishing career, an exhibition that will finally introduce the public to arguably Renaissance art’s most spellbinding storyteller. The catalog will rely on close technical and textual analysis to argue for specific interpretations and cases of authorship but will also address the broader social and religious functions of image-making in the period.
240 pages | 200 illustrations | 9.5 x 11.5 inches