Paolo Uccello was an Italian painter and a mathematician who was notable for his pioneering work on visual perspective in art. He used perspective in order to create a feeling of depth in his paintings and not, as his contemporaries, to narrate different or succeeding stories. His best known works are the three paintings representing the battle of San Romano. Paolo worked in the Late Gothic tradition, and emphasized colour and pageantry rather than the Classical realism that other artists were pioneering. His style is best described as idiosyncratic, and he left no school of followers.
His nickname Uccello came from his fondness for painting birds. At the age of ten, he was apprenticed to the famous sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti, designer of the doors of the Florence Baptistery, whose workshop was the premier centre for Florentine art at the time. Ghiberti's late-Gothic, narrative style and sculptural composition greatly influenced Paolo.
In 1414 Uccello was admitted to the painters' guild Compagnia di San Luca and just one year later, in 1415, he joined the official painter's guild of Florence Arte dei Medici e degli Speziali. By 1424 Paolo was earning his own living as a painter.
With his precise, analytical mind he tried to apply a scientific method to depict objects in three-dimensional space. In particular, some of his studies of the perspective foreshortening of the torus are preserved, and one standard display of drawing skill was his depictions of the mazzocchio. The perspective in his paintings has influenced famous painters such as Piero della Francesca, Albrecht Dürer and Leonardo da Vinci, to name a few.
In 1425, Uccello travelled to Venice, where he worked on the mosaics for the façade of San Marco. After returning to Florence in 1431, he remained there for most of the rest of his life, executing works for various churches and patrons, most notably the Duomo.
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