Cover image for The enigma of Piero : Piero della Francesca
The enigma of Piero : Piero della Francesca
Ginzburg, Carlo.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Indagini su Piero. English
New edition with appendices.
Publication Information:
London : Verso, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxxiv, 158 pages, 80 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), portraits (some color) ; 23 cm
General Note:
Previous ed.: 1985.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ND623.F779 G513 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Sifting the available evidence, Carlo Ginzburg builds up a vivid portrait of Piero della Francesca's patrons and convincingly explains the contemporary intrigues resonant in his paintings. This new edition includes additional material by Ginzburg dealing with the work of Roberto Longhi, the dating of the Arezzo Cycle and the rediscovery of della Francesca in the 20th century.

Author Notes

Carlo Ginzburg was born in Turin and now teaches at UCLA.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This new edition (1st ed. in Italian, 1985) of Ginzburg's Enigma of Piero is an attempt to clarify by resolving the many questions surrounding the life and works of Piero della Francesca by an historian as opposed to art historians, with an approach distinguished respectively by Ginzburg as the iconologic versus the iconographic. He utilizes three basic works: The Baptism of Christ, The Arezzo Cycle: The Legend of the True Cross, and The Flagellation, comparing facts, similarities, likenesses, and physiognomies to establish the production and chronology of works or to reassign authorship to other hands while correlating historical and geographical events and persons. There are 123 illustrations, 34 of which are in color and of less-than-satisfactory quality. The index is exclusively devoted to proper names. There is no bibliography, yet there are 418 references in 187 pages of text, many of which are incomplete and about 90 percent of the authors noted only by last name. Having re ferred to Giorgio Vasari's Lives (1567 ed.), the author might have made some attempt to explain Piero's use of color, form, light, and perspective (De Prospectiva Pingendi by Piero) and his compositional use of the Euclidian Golden Section. Has the Enigma been resolved? Well-prepared graduate students and faculty only. R. R. Henry emeritus, Pine Manor College

Table of Contents

Peter Burke
List of Platesp. vii
Introductionp. xiii
Prefacep. xix
Preface to the New Editionp. xxxi
I The Baptism of Christp. 5
II The Arezzo Cyclep. 15
III The Flagellation of Christp. 48
IV Further Thoughts on the Flagellationp. 60
Conclusionp. 102
I Giovanni di Francesco, Piero della Francesca and the Date of the Arezzo Cyclep. 107
II The Flagellation: Conjectures and Refutationsp. 116
III Berenson, Longhi, and the Rediscovery of Piero della Francescap. 129
IV Absolute and Relative Dating: on the Method of Roberto Longhip. 138
Indexp. 153