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Paolo Uccello

Uccello, Paolo (päˈōlō ōt-chĕlˈlō) [key], 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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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