Piero della Francesca (c. 1415 – 12 August 1492) was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance. His most famous work is the cycle of frescoes The History of the True Cross in the church of San Francesco in the Tuscan town of Arezzo.
Piero della Francesca was born in the village of Borgo Santo Sepolcro, in the province of Arezzo. His father was named Pacio Bertucci and his mother’s name is not known. Piero probably had a brother named Giacomo, who also became a painter. Piero later married Allegra di Montefeltro, daughter of Federico III da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino.
Piero’s first artistic work was probably an altarpiece for the church of Sant’Agostino in Sansepolcro. The date of this work is not known, but it is likely that Piero painted it during his stay with Domenico Veneziano in Florence from 1439 to 1440. Another early work by Piero is the Baptism of Christ, which was painted for the church of San Giovanni Battista in Borgo Santo Sepolcro. This work is also dated to Piero’s time in Florence.
Piero’s most famous work is the cycle of frescoes The History of the True Cross, which he painted for the church of San Francesco in Arezzo. This work is Piero’s largest and most complex work. It depicts the story of the discovery and crucifixion of Christ, as well as the veneration of the True Cross by Empress Helena and Emperor Constantine. The cycle took Piero over 20 years to complete, and was left unfinished at his death.
Piero della Francesca died in his hometown of Sansepolcro on 12 August 1492. He was buried in the church of Sant’Agostino.