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Florentine painter, 1396/7 - 1475

Uccello's wife told people that Paolo used to stay up all night in his study, trying to work out the vanishing points of his perspective, and that when she called him to come to bed he would say: "Oh what a lovely thing this perspective is!"

"Several scenes were commissioned from Paolo for the cloister of Santa Maria Novella. He showed the creation of the first man and woman, and their fall." I-99

The Creation of Adam, Santa Maria Novella, Florence
The original sin
"Lower down, he painted the Flood and Noah's Ark; and here, taking great pains and with great care and skill, he reproduced the dead bodies, the tempest, the fury of the wind, the flashes of lightning, the rooting up of trees, and the terror of men, in a manner that defies description." I-99

The Flood and the Sacrifice of Noah
"In Santa Maria del Fiore Uccello painted a horse in terra verde to commemorate Giovanni Acuto. Paolo drew there in perspective a large sarcophagus supposed to contain the corpse, and over this he painted an image of the captain on horseback and wearing his armour." I-101

Giovanni Acuto (Sir John Hawkwood, an English condottiere), Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence
"At that time Uccello painted in colour the clock-face over the principal doorway of the same church, with four heads at the corners coloured in fresco." I-101

The Clock, Santa Maria del Fiore
Two heads from the clock (detail)
"Paolo loved the talent that he saw in his fellow craftsmen; and to preserve their memory for posterity he painted the portraits of five distinguished men on a long panel. One was the painter Giotto..; the second was Filippo Brunelleschi..; then Donatello; Uccello himself; and for mathematics his friend Giovanni Manetti." I-103
Five famous Florentines
  Vasari mentions some small battle scenes in a garden at Valfonda; these are probably not to be identified with the large panel paintings of the Battle of San Romano, painted for the Medici family between 1454 and 1457. To illustrate an earlier passage in the Life, I reproduce one of the panels, and draw your attention to the construction of Nicola di Tolentino's mazzocchi or hat, constructed from wooden hoops covered with cloth.
"He used to show Donatello...the mazocchi that he had drawn with their points and surfaces shown from various angles in perspective.." I-96
The Battle of San Romano, National Gallery, London


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