• Piero_2.jpg
  • Resurrezione.jpg La resurrezione
  • PArto.jpg Madonna del Parto
  • Citta.jpg Architetture
  • Misericordia.jpg Polittico della Misericordia
  • Veri.jpg Verifica della vera Croce

La Madonna del Parto

Traditionally, the fresco can be tracked back to 1459, when the artist visited Monterchi perhaps at the funeral of his mother, who was originally from the village. In any case, the date ranges usually studies the sixties of the fifteenth century. The fresco was for the ancient church of Santa Maria di Momentana, formerly of Santa Maria in Silvis, country town at the foot of the hill Monterchi. Do not know why the painter, already famous, he painted a subject so difficult in a country church, and it ignores the client. The original destination was the fresco decoration of a side altar dedicated to St. Augustine, which he held the bishop of Sansepolcro. The Madonna del Parto was often visited by pregnant women for protection during labor, which were making a pilgrimage from the neighboring village to the church located downstream.

Between 1784 and 1786 the church was the site chosen for the construction of the cemetery Monterchi, and the church was demolished and converted into a two-thirds of the funeral chapel. At the time the fresco was cut "in solid", ie marking the wall on which was painted, and moved within a niche arched altar, the only survivor of the original building area. In 1789 there was an earthquake that damaged the chapel.

The work remained neglected until rediscovered by the erudite Funghini Vincent, who visited the 8 January 1889 recognizing it as the work of Piero della Francesca and arousing the interest of scholars. In 1911 the Royal Superintendent of Monuments decided, for reasons of protection and conservation, the detachment of the fresco from the wall, which was made by the conservator Domenico Tax, which relocated the work on a backing of plaster and wire mesh. On that occasion it was also discovered another fragmentary under the Madonna and Child Madonna of the first half of the fourteenth century (now in the church of St. Simeon of Monterchi).

The violent earthquake of April 26, 1917 forced the authorities to put the work in shelter: the first in a warehouse in Le Ville, where he remained until June 12, 1919, then in the Civic Museum in Sansepolcro, where he was exposed to the September 13, 1922 . On that date the work of Piero returned to Chapel Momentana.

After the second world war, which left the chapel free, between 1952 and 1953 the Madonna of childbirth underwent a restoration edited by Dino Dini. The church was affected by heavy renovations in 1956, which changed the original east-west orientation in favor of a new north-south axis, with the closing of the old entrance eighteenth century and the opening of a new one on the south side. Here the painting was exhibited on the north wall, in what had become the main altar.

From March 16, 1992 the fresco, after the restoration carried out to mark the fifth centenary of the death of Piero della Francesca, was "temporarily" relocated to a visible inside air-conditioned showcase a special performance that took place, through 1993 in the former middle school on Reglia, a Fascist-era building at the door of the old village, which was equipped as a "museum" for a single work. After the exhibition opened, however, a contentious, ongoing between the town of Sansepolcro, the Superintendent and the Diocese, for the possession of the work and the choice of its final location. In 1995, the City claimed the ownership of the fresco, refusing to relocate to do Momentana, despite legal threats, both the Ministry for Cultural Heritage, is the Bishop of Arezzo-Cortona-Sansepolcro. The latter called for a cause in 2002 for the restitution of the image, but the lawsuit was not successful, despite the discovery of documents which prove the ownership of the fresco to the diocese, including the opposition of the citizens of Monterchi in the committee "The Madonna of monterchiesi". The chapel Momentana, in fact, since 1996 has been surrounded by a new block of burial cells that make it extremely unlikely the use of culture and tourism, including the poor state of preservation of the chapel. Among the cases of relocation has come forward in recent years that the church of St. Benedict, located opposite the school on Reglia, which, despite being a holy place that would return the image to a size even religious, has obtained an opinion negative in 1999 by the Superintendence for the architectural excessive size, inconsistent with the fresco, and the precarious condition of the building. The idea of ​​constructing a new building, which house the Madonna near the cemetery Momentana (2005) has also met opposition from the citizens of the town, whose economy is now strongly linked to the flow of visitors who go to country to admire the work of Piero della Francesca. In April 2009, the church of St. Benedict's solution, even with the recovery of the environments of the adjacent former Benedictine monastery, was riaffacciata, thanks to an agreement with the diocese, but is currently awaiting ministerial authorization .
Assumptions of dating

The exact date of the work is uncertain and varies in general between 1455 and 1465, at the same time, however, with the frescoes of the Stories of the True Cross in Arezzo. The most reliable theories ranging from the hypothesis of 1450-1455 by Pietro Longhi, 1460, proposed by Clark and De Vecchi, the hypothesis late (after 1475) of Baptists.

For Antonio Paolucci could be in conjunction with the Meeting of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba who has some similarities (such as the treatment of painted fabrics), so around 1455.