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Biography and works of Paolo Uccello (1397 - 1475)
Triptych by Paolo Uccello : the Battle of San Romano in 1432 - Right Panel - The counterattack of Micheletto da Cotignola
The battle of San Romano in 1432 - the Counter-attack of Micheletto da Cotignola
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Paolo di Dono known as Paolo Uccello was born in Florence in 1397 and died in the same city in 1475.
He was the son of a barber-surgeon.

At the age of ten, Paolo was apprenticed to the famous sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti.
Ghiberti's workshop was the premier centre for Florentine art at the time.
Ghiberti's late-Gothic, narrative style and sculptural composition greatly influenced Paolo.

It was also around this time that Paolo began his lifelong friendship with Donatello.

In 1414 Uccello was admitted to the painters' guild Compagnia di San Lucca and just one year later, in 1415, he joined the official painter's guild of Florence Arte dei Medici e degli Speziali.

According to Vasari (his biograph), Paolo's first painting was a Saint Anthony between the saints Cosmas and Damianus, a commission for the hospital of Lelmo.
Next he painted two figures in the convent of Annalena.
Shortly afterwards he painted three frescoes with scenes from the life of Saint Francis above the left door of the Santa Trinita church.

For the Santa Maria Maggiore church he painted a fresco of the Annunciation. In this fresco, he painted a large building with columns in perspective. Vasari writes that people thought this was a great and beautiful achievement.

Paolo painted the Lives of the Church Fathers in the cloisters of the church of San Miniato, on a hill overlooking Florence.
For this fresco he used unusual colours (blue pastures, red bricks and different colours for the buildings) as a protest against his monotonous meals served by the abbot : cheese pies and cheese soup.
In the end Paolo felt so miserable that he ran away.
He only finished the job after the abbot promised to serve him normal meals.

Ucello loved to paint animals and he kept a large number of pictures of all kinds of animals, especially birds, at home.
Because he was so fond of birds, he was aptly nicknamed Paolo Uccelli (Paul of the birds).

By 1424 Paolo was earning his own living as a painter.
In that year he painted episodes of the Creation and expulsion for the Green Cloister (Chiostro Verde) of Santa Maria Novella in Florence (now badly damaged), proving his artistic maturity.

Again, he was able to paint in a lively manner a large number of animals.
As he succeeded in painting trees in their natural colours, in contrast with many of his predecessors, he began to acquire a reputation for painting landscapes.
He continued with scenes from the Deluge, the story of Noah's Ark, Noah's sacrifice and Noah's drunkenness. These scenes brought him great fame in Florence.

Around this time he was taught geometry by Manetti.

In 1432 the Office of Works asked the Florentine ambassador in Venice to enquire after Uccello’s reputation as an artist.

Uccello remained in Florence for most of the rest of his life, executing works for various churches and patrons, most notably the Duomo.

In 1436 he was given the commission for the monochromatic fresco of Sir John Hawkwood. In this equestrian monument he showed his keen interest in perspective.
The condottiere and his horse are presented as if the fresco was a sculpture, seen from below.

Around 1450–1456 he painted his three most famous paintings The Battle of San Romano, the victory of the Florentine army over the Sienese in 1432, for the Palazzo Medici in Florence.
This triptych is
painted with egg tempora on poplar wood
The extraordinarily foreshortened forms extending in many planes accentuate Uccello's virtuosity as a draftsman, and provides a controlled visual structure to the chaos of the battle scene.

You will find above the right panel panel which depicts the Counter-attack of Micheletto da Cotignola and is now at the Louvre Museum in Paris while the two other panels are respectively at The Uffizi Gallery in Florence and at the National Gallery in London.

The side panels measure 182 cm by 320 cm, while the central panel, of the same height, is a little less wide.

You will find below a marquee with the three episods of the battle.


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- Triptych painted in 1455 by Paolo Uccello : the Battle of San Romano in 1432 - Left Panel - Niccolò da Tolentino leads the Florentine troops----- Triptych by Paolo Uccello : the Battle of San Romano in 1432 - Central Panel - Bernardino della Ciarda thrown off his horse----- Triptych by Paolo Uccello : the Battle of San Romano in 1432 - Right Panel - The counterattack of Micheletto da Cotignola--

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