- "Portrait of Federico da Montefeltro" by Piero della Francesca [Selected Works]
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Portrait of Federico da Montefeltro

The Duke of Urbino

1466: Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Portraits were extremely popular during the Renaissance, from full-length figures on canvas to miniature reliefs on medallions. The portrait served many functions - one of the principal tasks being to record and transmit the images of rulers and their power.

A ruler of a particularly cultivated court at Urbino in Umbria, Federico de Montefeltro was one of the great generals of his day and an enlightened patron of the arts. The face of Federico - with its nose damaged in a joust, thin lips, and protruding jaw - is especially candid. Here, devoid of any hint of spirituality or religious association, is the self-reliant ruler firmly in charge of his destiny.

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