The forest fire | Piero di Cosimo | 1505
In the book The lives of the artists of 1550, we found many of the few details we have on Piero di Cosimos’ life. Although his portraits were acknowledged when he was alive, the attention on the artist was more focused in his eccentricities than in his paintings. It was said that he resisted to clean his studio and to cut his trees, because he preferred the wild and natural environments. He would only eat when he was hungry and he used to eat only boiled eggs. Apart from those eccentricities, he was also pyrophobic (phobic to fire).
Maybe to deal with his fear, di Cosimo ends The forest fire in 1505, already in his mature stage. Here we can look at one of the first landscapes of the renaissance, which combines real with fantastic animals. While in the foreground we can see an ox, a lion and a crane; to the left of the painting, we can look at some kind of black and white pig which has the face of a woman, and a giant dove on a branch. The animals are sharing the same environment although many of them don’t even live in the forest. The fire itself happens behind the trees and bushes in the centre of the composition, as the artist would distance himself from it.