Piero della Francesca Color Study

The fresco of "The Finding and Proof of the True Cross"

by Piero Della Francesca (c.1420-1492) is located in the church of San Franceso, Arezzo, Italy.

Piero della Francescat was greatly influenced by the color schemes of the Florentine painters, such as Fra Angelico and Domenico Veneziano as can be seen in his color choices for this fresco. During Francesca's lifetime, artists were exposed to Flemish masters, such as Roger van der Weyden and started to incorporate more complex colors and richer tones in their own works.

I have been trying to figure out my color scheme for my painting and have spend some time comparing my colors to those of the Old Master's to see what palette might make for an interesting painting. Half of the colors present in the fresco are those that are already present in my photo reference, yet the degree of color intensity makes all the difference.The reds and blues are more muted here and are set against three different ocher browns. My painting has water elements that need to be incorporated against these earth tones and in order to avoid a garish looking piece, it is advisable to see what color combination harmonizes well with each other. The handling of the blue and green tones in the fresco, tend to be more in the realm of turquoise/blue/green, which works rather well.

Color Swatches

For now the start up color palette will include these colors, which will be adjusted until the colors are hit right on:

Notations are approximates for Munsell Color Value/Chroma

- Blue Green tone - approx. Munsell 7.5BG 8/3 (mix OH Kings Blue/WN White/Senellier Lemon Yellow)

- Pink tone - Munsell 7.5R 6/8 (try MH Ventian Red/White mix)

- Blue/Grey - Munsell

- Orange tone - Munsell ca. 2.5YR 6/10 - try Cad. Orange or mix Aliz Crimson, Cad Yellow LT and Titanium White

- Pale Yellow tone - Munsell 8.Y 9/2 - try White and WN Yellow Ochre

- Yellow Ocher tone - Munsell 2.5Y 7/8 WN Yellow Ochre plus touch of Blue/Green

- Yellow/Red (Mauve) YR 2.5YR 5/4

- Deep Maroon tone - Munsell 5R 3/4 - Caput Mortuum Violet (Mars)- Old Holland

- Blue tone - Munsell 2.5PB 5/8 Kings Blue Light Old Holland

- Black

- White


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