Van Gogh •
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Paolo (di Dono) Uccello, painter of works in mathematically applied
perspective, was born in Florence. He received his first training as a Gothic painter, and assisted in the workshop of the sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti from 1407 to 1414. Uccello, who went to Venice in 1425 and was the first to bring Renaissance ideas to the Venetian area, holds a unique place in the history of art, for he became involved with perspective to the virtual exclusion of the ethical or intellectual concepts found in other Renaissance artists.
Paintings by Uccello are intriguing not because they accurately resemble life, but rather because they differ form it or are so arranged as to confuse us into mistaking illusion for reality. For Uccello a painting was a problem that he solved by the rules of perspective, and the more difficult the problem the more he enjoyed it. His greatest works, the three panels of the Battle of San Romano, Night Hunt, and The Deluge, are to a great extend exercises in foreshortening. The elements within these paintings are spatially unrelated, and held together by pattern, brilliant color, and fantastic effects. His battles are completely improbable tangles of horses, riders, lancers, pennants, helmets, and bits of landscape, each perfectly drawn but becoming abstract in their perfect geometry. Uccello's imagination and his use of color created some of the most delightful works of the early Renaissance.