Piero della Francesca Biography

Early Life

Piero della Francesca was born around 1415 in Borgo San Sepolcro, Tuscany. His name signifies his father’s profession as a merchant who traded in fabrics. He belonged to a mercantile family and the economic stability of his family enabled him to pursue his interests in the arts. Little is known about his early life, but it is assumed that Piero received preliminary training in Borgo San Sepolcro itself.


As far as his education is concerned, it is believed that Piero della Francesca received thorough and structured training in not only art but also mathematics and geometry. This training significantly reflects in his works and his treatise on perspective. He was likely trained by a local painter in his childhood and as many art historians speculate, he may have received further training in Florence, the center of artistic innovation during that period.


Piero della Francesca’s early works demonstrate the influences of many Florentine artists of that time, particularly the works of Domenico Veneziano, whose color palette Piero adopted. His stay in Florence exposed him to the artistic culture of the Early Renaissance that was burgeoning in the city. Also, his time in Rome influenced his approach to human figure and its relationship to architecture, likely under the influence of Fra Angelico and Mantegna. His mathematical understanding was greatly influenced by Pythagoras, Euclid, and Archimedes.

Major Artwork

Piero della Francesca is revered for his mastering in perspective and geometric form. His application of the latest discoveries in perspective, light, and color, to his religious compositions, brought them a new lucidity and vision realism. His most famous works include “The Baptism of Christ” (1450s), “Legend of the True Cross” (he painted over a span of 15 years – 1452-1466), and the “Duke and Duchess of Urbino” (1472). His paintings are characterized by their serenity and clarity, and by his fascination with geometry and light.

Art Movements

Piero della Francesca was part of the Early Renaissance, an art movement that developed distinct features of Renaissance art from about 1400 to around 1490. His association with the movement had a significant impact on its development as Piero’s focus on detailed naturalism and his innovative use of perspective and vanishing point became defining features of the movement.


Piero della Francesca passed away in October 1492. He left behind not just his vast oeuvre of paintings but also three written works – treatises on painting, perspective and algebra. He significantly influenced several subsequent artists like Perugino and Luca Signorelli, and his impact is profoundly recognized in the field of Italian and world art. His harmonious integration of art, geometry – most visibly in his application of the newly developed linear perspective, and light in his works – displayed his innovative mind, making him a truly unique figure of the Early Renaissance.