Uccello and the Problem of Space

Nice post on Renaissance master of linear perspective Uccello

In the Dark

The other night I was watching an old episode of the detective series Lewis and it reminded me of something I wanted to blog about but never found the time. The episode in question, The Point of Vanishing, involves a discussion of a painting which can be found in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford:


I won’t spoil the plot by explaining its role in the TV programme, but this work – called “The Hunt in the Forest” or “The Night Hunt” or some other variation on that title –  is by one of the leading figures of the Early Renaissance, Paolo Uccello, who was born in Florence and lived from about 1396 until 1475. He was most notable for his explorations of the use of perspective in painting, and specifically in “The Problem of Space”, i.e. how to convey the presence of three dimensions when the paint is…

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2 responses to “Uccello and the Problem of Space

  1. The revolutionary method of Filipo Brunelleschi was seminal in the development of perspective as was his breakthrough in the construction of the Dome of Florence. I hope you will concede that at least Brunelleschi was not just another cog in the history of science. Of course he was a co-thinker of the revolutionary humanist circle of Toscanelli, Nicholas of Cusa and Ambrogio Traversari.

  2. John F Ptak

    Thanks for sharing this–I’m always happy to see Uccello in a post. My comment/question is off topic, but here it goes anyway: addressing Wm Gaddis’ “solids in Uccello”. It seems that Uccello used a lot of color and solids with hardly any detail in many of his works, as with, say, Battle of San Romano, where the horse necks/rumps/bellies are masses of color. Solids. That part of his art seems highly unusual for me for the time, suggestive of styles centuries-distant. I wonder if the solids in Uccello are as much interest to others as they are to me?

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