A LITTLE CHURCH AND THE GIRL, BETWEEN THE COLORS OF INFINITY – Castelluccio di Norcia in the frescoes by Piero della Francesca

The fresco of the Madonna del Parto

It comes from the chapel of Santa Maria di Momentana https://www.appennino-centrale.it/it/punti-di-interesse/chiesa-di-santa-maria-di-momentana, it was frescoed by Piero della Francesca around the middle of the 15th century century and can be admired in a museum. The fresco of the Madonna del Parto was intended for a country church and women in labor went there on pilgrimage for protection. After three centuries the church was readapted into a funerary chapel in the city cemetery of Momentana and the fresco was moved to a niche in the main altar. An earthquake damaged the chapel around the end of the eighteenth century and the fresco of the Madonna del Parto fell into oblivion until 1911, when it was detached from the wall and restored. Due to the 1917 earthquake, the work was transferred to the Museum of Sansepolcro – in the building that belongs to the medieval Conservatori del Popolo who governed the city until 1371 – but five years later it returned to the north wall of the Momentana Chapel.

The setting in the tent – which appears in numerous frescoes by Piero della Francesca – as well as the drapery of the curtain, underline a trilogy of characters in the painting. At the center of a precious curtain and depicted as an adolescent, the Madonna del Parto that you admire today in Tuscany in the Monterchi Civic Museum http://www.madonnadelparto.it/, has a face with almond-shaped eyes framed in the hair braided around the head of she. The natural essentiality of that girl gives off a light that transfigures her into the queen of all motherhood. She places her hand on her swollen belly, where the painter Piero della Francesca has not only colored and draped her dress, shirt and neckline, but has also selected the essentiality of her colors.

His colors are clear and brilliant, exhibiting purity and chromatic quality. In his frescoes, colors and light combine to create images that are astonishingly devoid of correspondence with reality. Piero della Francesca met works and artists who enriched his style. From Masaccio he resumed and developed a type of perspective plasticism, he loved the colors of Domenico Veneziano, and like him he preferred blue skies and ivory complexions. As if they were pieces of music, inside his frescoes you can easily identify chromatic scales even in the emerald green, ice white and wine red of his cloaks.

You will be able to admire those same colors to the south-west Piero della Francesca birthplace, San Sepolcro, moving to Pian Grande di Castelluccio di Norcia in just over two hours by car. You will be able to feel those colors on the Apennines, based at the farmhouse Casale dei briganti, between Norcia and Castelluccio. Browse the web pages http://casaledeibriganti.com you will find a particular photograph with flowers in the foreground and a mysterious landscape on the back. Compare the colors of the Madonna del Parto with those of the flowering of Castelluccio di Norcia, so you will discover the royalty of a landscape without equal. Perugia-San Francesco d’Assisi Airport is 90 km from Casale dei Briganti. This property offers you free WiFi, a garden, a shared lounge and a terrace where you can enjoy a buffet, continental or Italian breakfast every morning. Some of its accommodation types have a balcony with mountain views.

Arriving there, you will be surrounded by colors, lights and perfumes. Like everyone who comes here, you want to stay forever. Every year mother nature renews the same show on the plateau of Castelluccio di Norcia which is tinged with colors with a poignant spontaneous flowering. Fields not sown with lentils break up the harmony of colors, with green stripes for the wheat and purple for the sainfoin. If you have to choose when to get there, go there in mid-May, you’ll find there not only the white of bastard chamomile and leucanthemum and the red of poppies. Don’t forget that in May the Pian Grande is tinged with the yellow of wild mustard. When you decide to go home you will be able to remember the white, pink or light blue of the lentil flowers by buying something at the Castelluccio Agricultural Street Food https://www.saporidinorcia.com/.


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