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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
You will find below a marquee with the three episods of the battle.
If you like this page
and if you are on Google Please click on
and if you are on Twitter Please click the following icon
and if you are on Facebook Please click the following icon
if you are on linkedIn Please click the following icon
this page to your bookmarks
Paolo Uccello Paolo Uccello biography works Battle San Romano
Battle of San Romano armour armor knights Italian painting painting reproductions
paintings copies copy reproduction reproductions Michel Mancini master old masters
to order commission commissions oil on canvas oil canvas virtual gallery gallery
painter painters Italian school school decorative painting fifteenth century Renaissance