Paolo Uccello (born Paolo di Dono in 1397) was a Florentine painter who was notable for his pioneering work on visual perspective in art. His nickname Uccello came from his fondness for painting birds. With his precise, analytical mind he tried to apply a scientific method to depict objects in three-dimensional space.
The perspective in his paintings has influenced famous painters such as Piero della Francesca, Albrecht Durer and Leonardo da Vinci, to name a few.
Giorgio Vasari in his book Lives of the Artist wrote that Uccello was obsessed by his interest in perspective and would stay up all night in his study trying to grasp the exact vanishing point. 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 (for a long time these were wrongly entitled the “Battle of Sant’ Egidio of 1416”).
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. He had some influence on twentieth century art and literary criticism. He died in 1475.