The apprentice sculptor who became a great Renaissance mathematical painter

Landscape paintings are always my favourite when it comes to headers for my blog site. And there can be no more evocative wide paintings than the three depictions of the Battle of San Romano by Paulo Uccello. And how about the locations for these great works:  The National Gallery in London, The Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence and the Musée du Louvre in Paris.

The Battle of Romano, 1450-1455, Paulo Uccello, The National Gallery, London.
Paolo Uccello The Battle of San Romano, 1450-1455 Egg tempera with walnut oil and linseed oil on poplar, 182cm x 320cm, The National Gallery, London

The Battle of San Romano, then, in the National Gallery is my new header, featuring The Florentine commander, Niccolò da Tolentino, riding a white charger and wearing a magnificent red and gold hat. This painting is a study of the foreshortening and scientific perspective employed by Ucello in the second half of the fifteenth century in Florence. The painting of course was commissioned by the rich Medici banking dynasty.

Paulo Uccello (1397-1475) painted these three masterpieces between 1450 – 1455, commemorating the famous Florentine military victory over the Sienese and Milanese alliance some thirty years earlier. Interestingly, the Sienese believe they won the battle, but there are no paintings dedicated to that city. So even in the quattrocento it was important to be in control of the press and especially the ‘cameras’!

Paulo Uccello, Painter & Mathmetician, Florence, 1397-1475
Paolo Uccello, Painter and Mathmetician, Florence, 1397-1475

Uccello was born in Florence and apprenticed in sculpture to the famous sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti. It is as a perspective painter he became renowned. Vasari, in his history, recounted how the painter would stay awake all night calculating the positions of the components in his scenes. 

As he grew old he became marginalised and disillusioned. His last painting was another masterpiece of perspective, though, The Hunt in the Forest (c1470), which can be seen in the Ashmolean in Oxford.

Paolo Uccello, The Hunt in the Forest, 1470, 73 cm x 177cm, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

3 Comments Add yours

  1. What an interesting and beautiful post!
    Thank you for sharing ❤


    1. Glad you like it. Have been favourites of mine for a long time. Keep safe

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙏❣🙏❣🙏


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