My general talk on Piero della Francesca finally went off this week, and the compliments were encouraging. Encouraging to have another go. And maybe, actually spend a complete, unrushed, fifty minutes pondering the Piero gaze – simply through these three extraordinary fragments:
The youths seeing each other directly, recognising their desire as if for the first time and its fragility – they are, after all in the presence of the first death; Adam’s dead body lies on the ground by them. Hands are held gently as a huge potential opens up. The pregnant moment.
The pregnant teenager, her gaze inwards, seeing herself and her offspring as if for the first time, as he moves under her hand. Her fate overcomes any terror – she is, after all, a virgin; she is not resigned but rather recognising the huge potential which awaits.
The bleary-eyed figure, on the cold Easter dawn, gazing directly out, at me but through me and at everything. His appearing, his appearance is as astonished as it is astonishing. It is the moment of recognition, when the sting of that first death is totally transformed by belief. In this gaze too, the world will not be the same again.