Sandra Marraghini – architect, teacher of descriptive geometry and scholar of art – presents a new interpretation of Renaissance painting through the example of Piero della Francesca. Starting by decoding The Flagellation of Christ (one of the most enigmatic paintings in the history of art), the author provides the reader with scientific information and historical news that would have been considered ‘outrageous’ back in the 15th century, as they confuted traditions and the dogmas of the Church.
Piero della Francesca, like Leonardo da Vinci and other great artists of Renaissance, was a genius. His skills and knowledge were not limited to one discipline and/or art, but included all sciences studied in his era.
It is not by chance that this new vision of Piero’s works did not originate in the purely academic field of history of art. In fact, it is the result of an interdisciplinary approach that takes all related subjects into account: mathematics - with special attention to the geometrical aspects of paintings - perspective, literature, philosophy, natural sciences, astronomy, as well as the beliefs and painting styles of the Renaissance.
One extraordinary discovery resulting from this approach is that back in the 15th century Piero della Francesca was clearly referring to heliocentrism, to the planetary system that we know today and to the existence of a New World.
In a historical period where a new age was beginning for humankind, the knowledge of heliocentric theories and the suspected existence of a new continent before its official discovery by Columbus, must have been in the air. These ideas were like a revolutionary promise and, as such, were feared by powerful people. Consider, indeed, that the same heliocentric theories would cause Galileo to be jailed as late as the 17th century... Ideas like men no longer being at the centre of the universe, the existence of another world beyond ours, or the concept of infinity could not be spread without risking being sentenced to death.
Following Sandra Marraghini in her thread of deductions, we enter a complex process, the same that Piero della Francesca must have started 600 years ago to transfer his knowledge to those who could receive it and could pass it on to future generations. Through the study of symbols, syllogisms and characters, the analysis of the elements of geometrical and mathematical balance and the observation of starry skies, we finally find the key to fully understand the messages hidden in the works of Piero della Francesca.
Based on the research and findings of the author, a few fundamental facts and dates of history need to be reviewed and updated, for instance the discovery of America. Analysing the writings of Luca Pacioli (the well-known mathematician and disciple of Piero della Francesca), Sandra Marraghini concludes that the matching of Piero’s death with the discovery of America (12 October 1492) is not a mere coincidence, but most probably fake news. With the altered date of Piero’s death, his contemporaries probably intended to hide and protect the truth that he was trying to tell us, that is to say: the route to America was known in the first half of Renaissance (by Piero himself), so much earlier than the voyages of Columbus.