Sanford Schwartz reviews the exhibition Piero della Francesca: Personal Encounters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on view through March 30, 2014.
Schwartz writes that the works in the show "are small-size paintings created for bedrooms or set-apart areas in the home. In spirit they take us to much the same austere and bare-bones realm as his more public pictures. Yet they present more directly and pleasurably the qualities that make Piero such a special figure, even by the heady standards of the fifteenth century, when so many Italian and Flemish artists, newly working with oil paint, were finding one personal way after another to portray the actual, corporeal world they lived in… [Piero's] militant orderliness was of a piece with an extraordinary feeling for character and emotion. In their bearing and marvelous faces, the people in his pictures are shy, and also aloof, in a way few artists have matched."