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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Paolo Uccello is an enigmatic painter from Florence who was notoriously strange and secretive. His paintings, just like his personality tend to turn their back on the viewer; elusive.

His adherence to the Gothic style is evident through all his works. He had a cavalier way of making fantastical compositions that couldn’t be further away from reality. He embraced the fairy tale world and didn’t fall short in creating it. Paolo had an inclination to the sidelines of emerging Renaissance. This artistic hero from the deep past comes back to life through his great paintings.

Paolo di Dono, by birthname, is a great painter who was nicknamed Uccello due to his famous bird and animal paintings. His work uniquely reconciled two distinct artistic styles. The essentially decorative late gothic style and the new heroic style of the early Renaissance merged into great pieces of art. Uccello's most famous work has got to be the three panels of the Battle of San Romano. Uccello had a passion for clear colors and tapestry-like compositions. His dramatic narratives made his one of the best artists in the history of painters. Paolo's Florentine Renaissance and the creation of fairy tale worlds is unique and unmatched.

He also embraces linear perspective, and he establishes new means of perspective in his paintings. The unique charm and decorative genius allow you to feel like you are part of the painting. Each piece comes to life beautifully in stylized patterning of landscape features and artistic incorporation of characters. Paolo’s figurative formulations depict a fascination with the novel perspective. The simplified and monumental treatment of forms singles out Paolo as an independent painter with unique style and technique.

Paolo Uccello is known for his mighty coherent intellect that defines his time. You can use his paintings to try and decord his brilliant ways of thinking. The timelessness in every piece makes one feel like it’s possible to inhabit Paolo to understand his strangeness. Paolo's reputation of strangeness is as a result of the common themes evident in his paintings. Even without documentary evidence, one can easily identify the artistic personality of the painter through his works. The figures in Paolo’s paintings are most often than not, elusive, in a background with half darkness.

Artist Uccello is an iconic painter who's commonly known by his nickname; Uccello which he got because of his bird and animal painting. He managed the gothic style and Renaissance style to come up with a unique independent style. His figural formulation and monumental treatment of forms is unmatched.

Famous Paintings by Paolo Uccello

Portrait of Florence (1397-1475)

This intriguing piece is teasingly fascinating, and this is evident in the thinness of the paint and the characteristic murkiness of the whole piece. It is evident that Paolo gave this painting scholarly and detailed attention, but even so, it’s still elusive.

Battle of San Romano (1438-1440)

Even though the subject matter of the painting is war or a skirmish since the battle of San Romano was not a serious one, the characters do not portray warfare. Instead, Paolo brings out a festive unreality that is enormously visually arresting. The characters taking centre stage have serenely uninterested faces with disengaged expressions. Even as the characters are in the thick of battle, there is no disorganization to show for it. Everything contributes to a unique visual sense from careful disposal.

The battle of San Romano is beautifully articulated, and it is decorous how the balance of forces is portrayed. The painting is exquisitely fussy in its detailing with the centre of the scene taken by a pumpkin-like hat does not belong in a battlefield. Paolo made three battle of san romano pieces with one brazenly dominating an entire wall in room 54 of London’s national gallery. The second version can be found in Lorenzo de Medici’s Florentine palace, and the third is in the Louvre.

The Flood (1443-1445)

Another great painting done by Paolo is the flood that is a combination of two biblical stories portraying the history of the flood. In this piece, the painter brings out a careful and sophisticated perspective. This three-dimensional pictorial space is a masterful build with an elaborate state. When you look at the painting, you can see violent wind, dead bodies, swaying trees, and flashing lights coming to light in the form of a storm of vivid horror. The nude human forms demonstrate Paolo’s love for perspective. With the flood, Paolo gives you a sneak peek to his meticulous analytic mind. He is keen on the application of scientific laws in the reconstruction of objects.