(b. 1397, Firenze, d. 1475, Firenze)
The Hunt in the Forest1460s
Tempera on wood, 65 x 165 cm
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
A hunting scene is the subject of one of Paolo Uccello's last works: the so-called Nocturnal Hunt in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Probably originally painted as the decoration for a linen chest, the scene is called nocturnal because of the strange kind of moonlight that falls on the elegant little figures of the hunters scattered through the dark forest. Except for the complex perspective composition that broadens the horizon, one might take this for a late Gothic painting, for here too we find the same painstaking description of details, sophisticated forms and movements that we found in the earlier panels. The overall richness of the scene is further stressed by the bright and elegant colours, particularly the strong reds of the coats.