The Flagellation of Christ
Piero della Francesca's panel game



Everybody in the background looks relaxed.
Pilate in his chair; the wielder of the taws
and A. N. Other turn their backs on us,
while even Jesus seems a casual spectator.

But it's the three right-foreground figures,
paying no attention, who are truly
enigmatic. The richest-clad of these
resembles Mussolini -- which may clue us up,
for weren't the cinquecentos murderous years?

Berenson thought Piero the embodiment
in the ineloquent in art; a master of false calm
and nice detail, paying his cool attention to
perspective, measure and proportion. All that.

Thus his foreshortened shadows indicate
the hour must be approaching (or just after) noon.

Someone, somewhere will be preparing lunch.




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