• Uccello, Paolo (Italian, 1397–1475)

    A painter and mathematician of the early Italian Renaissance, whose innovations in the use and techniques of perspective would influence later generations of Old Master artists. His most famous work is The Battle of San Romano, 1440, completed for the Palazzo Medici in Florence.

  • ukiyo-e

    A Japanese style of art, ukiyo-e means “images of the floating world” and became popular during the Edo period (1615–1868). Hand-painted screens and scrolls depicted everyday life in the pleasure quarters, including visits to courtesans and Kabuki theatres. By the late seventeenth century, ukiyo-e had become so popular among merchants and craftspeople that the prints were mass-produced using carved wooden blocks. Two of the best-known practitioners of this art are Utagawa Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai.

  • Uncanny

    A term associated with Sigmund Freud’s 1919 essay “Das Unheimliche,” which described the uncanny as an anxious, strange, or uncomfortable feeling brought on by familiar objects in unexpected contexts. Artists associated with the Surrealist movement often drew on the uncanny by rendering recognizable objects in irrational ways. The concept continues to inspire artists who harness the power of the unfamiliar in their work.

  • underpainting

    A term that refers to the first layer of a painting, executed in order to set values that will be carried out through the course of painting the work. In general most or all of the underpainting is covered by subsequent layers of paint.

  • Universal Exhibition

    A world’s fair, generally held on a given theme, organized by a host country and sanctioned by the Bureau international des expositions. The tradition began in the nineteenth century, with the 1851 Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, in London, among the first and best known.

  • University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology

    Originally a department within the Faculty of Arts at the University of British Columbia, the UBC Museum of Anthropology opened its iconic building in 1976. Designed by Arthur Erickson, it was built after the philanthropist Walter C. Koerner offered to donate his collection of Indigenous art if the federal government would support the construction of the building. Today the museum holds nearly 50,000 works from around the world, among them important works by Bill Reid, who created the museum’s iconic The Raven and the First Men, 1980, in response to a commission from Mr. Koerner.

  • Upper Canada

    From 1791 to 1840, present-day Ontario was a British colony known as Upper Canada. In 1841, Upper Canada was renamed Canada West when the Province of Canada was formed. It would become Ontario following Canadian Confederation in 1867.

  • Urquhart, Tony (Canadian, b. 1934)

    A painter, sculptor, and curator, and a pioneer of abstract art in Canada. For a time a member of the London circle that included Jack Chambers and Greg Curnoe, Urquhart was an important advocate for the rights of professional artists through his association with Chambers’s initiative CAR (later CARFAC).

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