The Duke and Duchess of Urbino

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Duke and Duchess of Urbino
Piero della Francesca 044.jpg
ArtistPiero della Francesca
Year1465-1472 circa
Dimensions47 cm × 66 cm (19 in × 26 in)
LocationUffizi Gallery, Florence

The double portrait of the Dukes of Urbino, also known as the Diptych of Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza is a diptych, oil on panel (47 × 33 cm each panel), with portraits of the Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza.[1] It is the work of Piero della Francesca dated to about 1465 to 1472 and in the collection of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. It is one of the most famous works of the Italian Renaissance.[2]

It is a tempera made over wood.[3]


The profiles of Battista and Federico stand out among a sweeping landscape.This background helped Piero celebrate the duke and duchesses as the proud landowners and rulers of Urbino.[4] The continuous landscape also suggests the expansive extent of their rule. Piero uses atmospheric perspective, which softens the contours of the landscape as they recede into the distance.

Scenes of allegories of triumph on the back of the double portrait of Battista Sforza and Federico Montefeltro.

The back of these portraits are painted with scenes of allegories of triumphs. Horses pull Federico’s triumphal car and Battista’s is pulled by unicorns, which symbolize chastity and fidelity, respectively. Whereas Temperance, Fortitude, Justice and Prudence sit on Federico’s car, Battista is accompanied by Chastity and Modesty, and Charity and Faith sit at the front of her car.

Beneath these scenes of triumph, Latin inscriptions celebrate the virtues of Federico and Battista. Federico’s inscription extols the “fame of his virtues” and Battista’s says she is “honored by the achievements of her husbands.”

Notably, Piero uses soft colors and radiant atmosphere that are evocative of the work of Rogier van der Weyden and Jan van Eyck, artists who were well known in Italy at the time. Piero likely created this sense of luminosity using oil glazes indicative of the Flemish style.[5]

Humanist influence is evident in the double portrait of Battista and Federico, including the triumphal processions evocative of the ancient Roman triumph on the obverse and the sharp, numismatic profiles indicative of the antique style.[4]


  1. ^ "N. Cat. 00281147". Centro di Documentazione. Polo Museale Fiorentino. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  2. ^ "Portraits of the Dukes of Urbino by Piero della Francesca". Guide to Uffizi Gallery Museum. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  3. ^ Walther, Ingo F. (2005). Los maestros de la pintura occidental. Taschen. p. 99. ISBN 3-8228-4744-5.
  4. ^ a b Baldwin, Robert (1987). "POLITICS, NATURE, AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN IN PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA'S PORTRAITS OF BATTISTA SFORZA AND FEDERICO DA MONTEFELTRO". Source: Notes in the History of Art. 6 (3): 14–19. doi:10.1086/sou.6.3.23202317. ISSN 0737-4453.
  5. ^ Dorra, Henri; Hartt, Frederick; Spencer, Harold; Rothschild, Lincoln (1978). "Art, a History of Painting-Sculpture-Architecture". Art Journal. 37 (4): 353. doi:10.2307/776052. ISSN 0004-3249. JSTOR 776052.