Xico Greenwald reviews the exhibition Piero della Francesca in America at The Frick Collection, New York on view through May 19, 2013.
Greenwald writes that Piero's Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Angels "is an often-overlooked work by Piero... Mary sits in the center of the painting, subtly larger than the four angels surrounding her, the scale-difference giving her quiet grandeur. Holding a flower in her right hand and with the baby Jesus on her left knee, Mary has a classical poise. Her garments fall naturalistically down over her form, like an ancient monument to Hera. And, as if to underline Piero della Francesca’s sense of order, her robe folds into a perfect circle at the base of the throne along the central vertical axis of the painting, giving the artwork a sense of supernatural symmetry and composure. Though crowded with figures, the space in this painting breathes easily and a pearlescent delicacy of color adds to the visual delight. The painting of St. Augustine, on loan from its home in Portugal, is also a marvel of virtuosity; the Bishop’s miter and mantel, covered in images of biblical scenes, is, on its own, almost as full of imagery as an altarpiece."