Paolo Uccello

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Italian painter Paolo Uccello was a leading figure in establishing the Renaissance in Florence, Italy. Apart from being a prominent painter Uccello was also a skilled mathematician. It was his logical thinking which ignited his passion for perspective thinking. He would spend days and nights drawing unique objects with a critical perspective. The Florentine painter was quite successful in merging two distinct artistic styles together, the Gothic style and the new heroic style of the early Renaissance. Uccello used the concept of perspective to create more depth to his paintings; he was successful in laying down the foundation of perspective and visual art. The word which best sums up Uccello’s work is idiosyncratic; he dared to be different during a time when most artists opted for safer techniques. Uccello on the other hand was emphasizing on color and theatrics when others opted for naturalism for their works. It comes as no surprise that Uccello left no followers after his death; he truly was one of a kind.

Paolo di Dono was born in 1397 near Florence Italy, to a barber father and his home maker wife. The name Uccello was driven for his love of painting birds quite a lot. By the age of 10 Uccello was apprenticing with famous sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti whose workshop was considered to be the heart of Florentine art during that time. Ghiberti’s workshop is considered to be the place where many great artists were trained which of course also included Uccello. Within a few years at the workshop Uccello soon became a member of the Arte dei Medici e degli Speziali , an official group of painters who belonged to Florence. Ghiberti’s influence can be seen in some of Uccello’s earlier works which have a strong angular dimensions to them accompanied with a sculptural strength. In some of Uccello’s paintings of birds and animals there is a slight tinge of naturalism associated with them, the animals are depicted as powerful creations possessing unique motion like quality. It was also at Giberti’s workshop where a young Uccello met a young Donatello in what would result in a life long friendship. Perhaps Uccello’s most famous work is The Battle of San Romano; the painting has been done in three different panels and depicts the famous battle fought between the troops of Florence. The painting also showcases Uccello’s fascination with perspective. All three panels have been done in an elaborate and decorative pattern comprising of figures on horses and a vast stretching landscape. Uccello has handled the different textures of color very beautifully in this painting and its deeply embedded in his signature Gothic style. Today all three panels have been scattered amongst the art capitals of the world, one is located in the National Gallery in London, the other in Uffizi in Florence and the third one in the Louvre, Paris.

Another talked about masterpiece of Uccello is his painting of St George and the Dragon. Again done in his unique Gothic style, the painting is a marvel as it stood out in those times and even today due to its perspective angle and Gothic style. This painting is a firm example of how well Uccello understood perspective.

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