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Paolo Uccello

Paolo Uccello

(c. 1396 - 1475)
Born: Florence, Italy
Style: Early Renaissance
Famous Works:
  • Funerary Monument to Sir John Hawkwood (1436)
  • Deluge (c. 1450)
  • The Battle of San Romano (c. 1455)
Paolo Uccello's training included time in the famous workshop of Florentine sculptor Ghiberti and a five-year stay in Venice. The artist developed an early interest in the burgeoning science of one-point perspective. It is suspected that the artist's time in Ghiberti’s workshop, a pioneer of perspective in his own right, was influential on Uccello's budding obsession with understanding the depiction of three-dimensional space. Uccello transformed flat panels into images that appeared to stretch for miles, relentless in his efforts to find the precise vanishing point within his compositions. The Battle of San Romano is his best-known work, and was most likely commissioned by Cosimo de Medici. The warfare between Florence and Siena in 1432 is shown in three panels, featuring men in brilliant armor positioned on horseback. This work is a testament to Uccello's intense study of design and composition. His palette of reds, greens, and blacks lends the painting elegance, and the forms of the spears carried by the soldiers give the painting a sophisticated rhythm. The narrative work is now divided among three museum collections. In addition to painting, Uccello also made decorative works of marquetry, and his study of perspective was supplemented by an intense fascination with mathematics.
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