(b. 1397, Firenze, d. 1475, Firenze)

Disputation of St Stephen

c. 1435
Fresco, 300 x 360 cm
Duomo, Prato

Those sections of the fresco cycle that are attributed to Paolo in the Chapel of Our Lady of the Assumption in Prato Cathedral display a perfect compositional organization, created through a precise perspective pattern that places the simple, elegant buildings and the numerous human figures within a perfectly balanced spatial rhythm. Each of the characters has a different expression, evidence of a research into facial characteristics which will later become typical of Uccello's painting.

In the scene of the Disputation of St Stephen, for instance, the beautiful face of the saint and those of the characters standing around him are portrayed with strongly marked expressions, in some cases even grotesque, in the attempt at giving each one individual characteristics. Behind this group of figures there is an architectural construction that is reminiscent of Brunelleschi's buildings. The accuracy and the perfect perspective of the drawing of this building is repeated also in the constructions in the background of the Stoning of St Stephen, for this reason correctly attributed to Uccello; the scene of Stephen's martyrdom, on the other hand, is the work of Andrea di Giusto.

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