In the middle decades of the 15th century, artists in Florence and its surrounding territories diversified their production to meet the desires of patrons seeking new kinds of art to adorn their residences. Uccello’s Battle of San Romano, which celebrated a recent military victory, was part of an exceptionally ambitious commission for the Bartolini Salimbeni family palace. Smaller works treating ancient of mythological subjects also had a commemorative function, often marking an important event such as a wedding or a birth.
Pisanello, painting for patrons in the ducal courts of northern Italy, employed ostensibly Christian subjects as a pretext for lavish depictions of hunting and knightly pursuits associated with courtly life. Such chivalric associations likely also inspired Uccello’s Saint George and the Dragon.
Religious faith, however, remained the driving force behind most artistic commissions. Both the paintings by Piero della Francesca in this room formed part of altarpieces for churches in his native Borgo San Sepolcro. Christian imagery was found in civic spaces too. Saint Bernard’s Vision by Filippo Lippi was displayed in Florence’s government headquarters and Domenico Veneziano’s pair of saints are fragments of a frescoed shrine found on the city’s streets.