Paolo Uccello: study of a chalice


Creator:  Paulo Uccello
Title:   Perspective drawing of a chalice
Date:  c. 1430
Medium: Pen on paper
Size:  29×24.5 cm
Repository:  Gabinetto dei Disigni e delle Stampe, Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Paulo Uccello was a Florentine painter and a contemporary of Filippo Brunelleschi, and was profoundly influenced by him as well.  Uccello had a love of perspective drawing and, as Vasari notes in his Lives of the Artists, “Paulo stayed at his desk all night, searching for the vanishing points of perspective, and when (his wife) called him to bed, he used to say to her: ‘Oh, what a sweet thing this perspective is!'” (Vasari, 83)

Uccello was one of the painters who were “deeply moved by the new technical triumphs that the study of perspective had brought…and were deeply stirred by the complex harmonies that could be achieved by following the strict rules of perspective”. (Plumb, 43)

This drawing of a perspective study is a literal representation of the laws of perspective; however, Uccello’s paintings also reveal his deft handling of linear perspective.  One of his most notable frescos can be seen on the wall of Santa Maria del Fiore, and depicts a sculptural image on a rider on horseback.  Its subject is Sir John Hawkwood, a mercenary English soldier who fought for Florence against Milan. (Macadam, 188)

Works Cited:

Macadam, A. Blue Guide Florence. Somerset Books. 2011
Plumb, J.H.  The Italian Renaissance.  Houghton Mifflin Co. 1961, 2001
Vasari, G. The Lives of the Artists. Oxford University Press, translated by J.C. Bondanella and P. Bondanella. 2008

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