Paolo Uccello

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Uccello, Paolo

(pä`ōlō o͞ot-chĕl`lō), c.1396–1475, Florentine painter. Uccello was little appreciated in his own time, and much of his work has been destroyed or is in poor condition. Although first apprenticed to Ghiberti, he later shows the influence of Masaccio. In 1425 he went to Venice and worked on mosaics for St. Mark's. After about five years he returned to Florence and painted Creation scenes in the cloister of Santa Maria Novella. In 1436 he was commissioned to paint an equestrian figure of Sir John Hawkwood in monochrome for the cathedral. He also depicted four prophets for the clockface of the cathedral. Uccello's most significant contribution is his cycle of Noah for Santa Maria Novella. According to Vasari, he represented the dead, the tempest, the fury of the winds, and the terror of men. Indeed, in the Deluge he combined a rigorous system of perspective with details of unsparing realism. Uccello's most famous scenes are from the Battle of San Romano (Uffizi; Louvre; and National Gall., London), notable for their rich, decorative panoply, for their solid, wooden toylike figures and for the experiments he made in foreshortening.


See his complete works ed. by J. Pope-Hennessy (2d ed. 1969).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Uccello, Paolo


(also Paolo di Dono). Born 1397 in Florence; died there Dec. 10, 1475. Italian painter of the 15th-century Florentine school.

Uccello was influenced by Donatello, F. Brunelleschi, Masaccio, and especially L. Ghiberti, in whose workshop he trained from 1407 to 1414. In addition to his years in Florence, he worked in Venice (1425–30), Padua (c. 1447), and Urbino (1465–68). Uccello’s works marvelously combine a fidelity to Gothic art and a fascination with the new, realistic style. Striving to organically integrate artistic form with scientific precision, Uccello studied plants, animals, and birds and rendered space in accordance with the rules of mathematical perspective.

Uccello’s works include heroic portraits of his contemporaries, for example, a fresco portrayal of the condottiere J. de Hawk-wood in the cathedral in Florence (1456), three dynamic, vibrant pictures depicting the battle of San Romano, which are among the earliest examples of the battle genre in modern European art (mid-1450’s; National Gallery, London, and other collections), and the charming, poetic Hunting Scene (late 1460’s; Ashmolean Museum, Oxford).


Sidona, E. Paolo Uccello. Milan, 1957.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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