Piero della Francesca, geometrician and master of perspective, painted this pair of portraits. They depict the Duke and Duchess of Urbino — he’s one of the leaders who inspired Machiavelli’s work, Il Principe. The Duke is always portrayed on his “good side;” he had acquired a huge scar and lost an eye in a tournament. Possessing only one eye hampered the Duke’s aim, so he had surgeons carve away the bridge of his nose to improve his field of vision. His wife, who he described as “the delight of my public and private hours,” died at age 25 after the birth of their seventh child. Considered a beauty, she had bleached hair and a plucked hairline to raise her forehead. Her white skin reflects the fact that the portrait was done post mortem.

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