Altoon Sultan blogs about the exhibition Piero della Francesca in America at The Frick Collection, New York, on view through May 19, 2013.
Sultan writes: "When people speak of his work as being calm, I would say 'still.' Rather than calm I see an austere presence, a severity of form and mien, in the sense of 'a strict or stern bearing or manner' (Mirriam-Webster). Many years ago, when I first saw the great Piero fresco cycle at Arezzo, I was surprised at how passionate the paintings were; I'd been expecting something cool and intellectual from looking at reproductions. This passion is contained within tight bounds, lending the works a sense of the eternal, of life not easily spent, of looking beyond 'this mortal coil.' "