It’s the perfect fresco for Easter: Christ steps proudly from his tomb super hero-style in his bubblegum pink robe. Those poor dupes, the guards, are sleeping and miss the drama. The composition is symmetrical, and a perfect triangle from the top of Christ’s head to the bodies of the guards below. It was only once I had a chance to see this fresco in person, in the Museo Civico in Sansepolcro, Italy, that the idiosyncratic details started to be apparent. Christ’s expression is deadpan and oh man is he ripped (you could grate cheese with those abs!). The sleeping guard in brown, said to be self-portrait of Piero della Francesca, is equally buff . The guy in blue has dragon wings on his knee. And most bizarrely, the guard sleeping closest to Christ’s foot has no legs. It’s hard to see in the reproduction but, no lie: DUDE HAS NO LEGS.
How we got to Sansepolcro: buses from Urbino.
Photo’s weren’t allowed in the museum, so I took this picture from Wikipedia.
We’ll do anything, well almost anything, to see a Piero della Francesca, though even for us this was a crazy itinerary. All in one pretty November day we traveled from Urbino by bus to Sansepolcro, changing buses twice in Urbania and Lamoli. After departing Sansepolcro for Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection, we tcaught bus to Arezzo, ran up a steep hill (while wearing our backpacks) to see Piero della Francesca’s Mary Magdalene (we missed it in a previous trip). Finally, we jumped on a train from Arezzo to Rome. One day, four buses, a train and two superb frescos.
The three buses from Urbino to Sansepolcro challenged the limits of our bladders and stomachs. As our buses lurched around blind switch-backs up increasingly steep hills, we both wondered who would be first to throw up or pee our pants. After arriving in Sansepolcro we sprinted to the nearest bathroom and then plopped ourselves on a nearby bench to eat a snack and recover from our nausea. When we stood up, these were the marks our butts left on the bench.
Handsome Renaissance-style architecture in Sansepolcro.