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Piero della Francesca, un capolavoro riunito

Piero della Francesca

The Augustinian Polyptych reunited

March 20 — June 24, 2024
Museo Poldi Pezzoli

For the first time in history, on exhibition are eight panels from five international museums.

In a unique and unrepeatable exhibition, at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan, with the support of Fondazione Bracco as Main Partner, a masterpiece by Piero della Francesca (1412-1492): the Augustinian Polyptych will be presented-for the first time in history, after 555 years since its creation.

allestimento della mostra dedicata al polittico agostiniano di Piero della francesca

In 1469 the artist finished painting his magnificent polyptych for the high altar of the church of the Augustinians in Borgo San Sepolcro (Arezzo), begun in 1454. The altarpiece, among Piero della Francesca’s most committed works, was dismembered and dispersed by the end of the 16th century. Today what remains of the Augustinian polyptych, namely eight panels (the central panel and most of the predella have not been traced so far), is in museums in Europe and the United States, as well as at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, which owns the panel depicting St. Nicholas of Tolentino, one of the four saints who belonged to the central part of the polyptych.

Reconstruction, Augustinian Polyptych, Piero della Francesca
Reconstruction, Augustinian Polyptych, Piero della Francesca

Some museums had previously tried to reunite the polyptych: the Poldi Pezzoli Museum itself in 1996, the Frick Collection in 2013, and the Hermitage Museum in 2018. But, not getting all the loans, they proposed only a “virtual” reconstruction. From March 20, 2024, thanks to collaboration with the major museums that own the surviving panels, the Frick Collection in New York (St. John the Evangelist, the Crucifixion, St. Monica and St. Leonard), the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga in Lisbon (St. Augustine), the National Gallery in London (St. Michael the Archangel) and the National Gallery of Art in Washington (St. Apollonia), it will be possible to admire all the fragments of the famous polyptych together.

Sant’Agostino, Piero della Francesca. Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbona
San Michele Arcangelo, Piero della Francesca. The National Gallery, Londra
San Giovanni Evangelista, Piero della Francesca. The Frick Collection, New York
San Nicola da Tolentino, Piero della Francesca. Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milano

The exhibition, conceived by Alessandra Quarto, director of the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, is curated by Machtelt Brüggen Israëls (Rijksmuseum and University of Amsterdam) and Nathaniel Silver (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston), scholars of international standing and the latest to propose a reconstruction of the polyptych in 2013 at the Frick Collection in New York based on investigations to date.
The organization of the exhibition is by Lavinia Galli, conservator, and Federica Manoli, collection manager, of the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, with coordination by Arianna Pace, of the exhibitions office.

Presented in an evocative installation by architect Italo Rota and international design studio CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, the panels will be juxtaposed with the frames that have “accompanied” them throughout these centuries of collecting history. The project aims to return the public and scholars to the full experience of Pierfrancesco’s work with all its evocative power of the Renaissance era. Viewed up close, the paintings will reveal the master’s meticulous attention to luxurious textiles and jewels such as the gold brocade of St. Augustine and the armor of St. Michael the Archangel and, by contrast, the simplicity of St. Nicholas of Tolentino’s austere and rough habit. They will also show the play of light that Piero della Francesca skillfully used for each of the panels, revealing a great attention to detail in the ornaments that now dialogue perfectly with the decorative arts in the Milanese museum’s collection.

Detail, Sant’Agostino, Piero della Francesca. Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbona

Thanks to the support of the Bracco Foundation, which has always been committed to the enhancement of the relationship between science and art, also planned is a comprehensive campaign of non-invasive diagnostic analysis on some of the works in the exhibition, which will be an integral part of the exhibition itinerary and will trace the painter’s working techniques and the materials used, as well as the paths of composition, dismemberment and reconstruction of the polyptych.

Dettaglio di San Giovanni Evangelista



Museo Poldi Pezzoli. Via Manzoni 12, Milano


March 20 — June 24, 2024


Full — € 14,00
Reduced Over 65 — € 10,00


Monday — Sunday 10 a.m. — 7.30 p.m. (last entrance 6.30 p.m.)
Tuesday closed


The exhibition in Milan will therefore be an exceptional occasion for the whole public and fundamental for the purposes of research and study by experts from all over the world; in fact, conferences, study days and comparisons among the great connoisseurs of Piero della Francesca and his painting will be organized.

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