Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Larry Witham's "Piero's Light," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Piero's Light: In Search of Piero della Francesca: A Renaissance Painter and the Revolution in Art, Science, and Religion by Larry Witham.

The entry begins:
Historians who pursue the life of the Italian Renaissance painter Piero della Francesca have a visual dilemma, and the same would go for a Hollywood screen writer and casting agent. Piero scholars have no valid description of what he looked like. What they have is folklore. Piero’s supposed self-portrait in a fresco shows a square-jawed man with dark curly hair, for example. A fanciful woodcut of Piero from the sixteenth century presents him wide-eyed. During the 1990s, rumor had it that archeologists found his burial site, and the skeleton was tall.

Measured against the Hollywood blockbusters done on Michelangelo and Van Gogh, a treatment of Piero della Francesca, a relatively cerebral artisan for his time, would face cinematic challenges. Charleton Heston as the volcanic Michelangelo, and Kirk Douglas’s Van Gogh in Lust for Life, are hard acts to follow (not to mention the demonstrative Ed Harris in Pollock). Short of using the entire cast of the Sopranos as a pool for characters—since Piero’s story is distinctly Italian—a “Piero: The Movie” must select widely.

Casting Piero’s historical environment will be important. This would be the outsized autocrats whose colorful Renaissance courts Piero had painted for. For the humanist Pope Pius II we could imagine...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Larry Witham's website.

The Page 99 Test: Piero's Light.

My Book, The Movie: Piero's Light.

--Marshal Zeringue