15th Century: The Ideal City

Formerly_Piero_della_Francesca_-_Ideal_City_-_Galleria_Nazionale_delle_Marche_Urbino_2

Fra_Carnevale_-_The_Ideal_City_-_Walters_37677

Città_ideale_di_berlino_2

The Ideal City is the title given to three different paintings. The are generally referred to as The Ideal City of Urbino, The Ideal City of Baltimore, and The Ideal City of Berlin, according to where they are locatedalthough all are Italian in origin.

All three date from the fifteenth century. The Ideal City of Urbino was formerly attributed to Piero della Francesca, then to Luciano Laurana, Francesco di Giorgio Martini or Melozzo da Forlì. The Ideal City of Baltimore is attributed to Fra Carnevale and dated between c.1480 and c. 1484; it was possibly painted for the Ducal Palace of Federico da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino. The Ideal City of Berlin has been tentatively attributed to Francesco di Giorgio Martini and dated 1477.

With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.

―Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

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