The three panels are believed to have been painted to represent either differing times of day during the battle, as the light in the background changes from bright daylight, to muted twilight, to full dark. The latter is the painting in question: the Decisive Counterattack of Michelotto da Contignola. While all the paintings feature Uccello's distinctive stylistic figures and animals, reminiscent of modern-day cartoons and caricatures, this painting seems to pop a little more than the others, perhaps because of the very darkness of the background. The figures are carefully composed, with the cluster of horsemen and their tall spears creating the effect of an explosion of colour and life against the chill dark of night.

Another clever trick that Uccello often uses is to have some of the characters turned away, out of eyeline. Many contemporary painters would carefully pose their subjects, rendering them in careful exactitude which is certainly skilful, but which also imparts an air of lively movement that was excitingly foreshadowing of – for those times – future camera technology. The effect that the white horse on the lower right has turned impatiently away from the painter, perhaps stamping a hoof and snorting as it does so gives the painting a liveliness that might otherwise be lacking because of the clear, flat colours that Uccello favours, which though attractive, can be lacking in the shadowing and texturing that can add depth to artworks.

The triptych was commissioned by the family of Bartolini Salimbeni between 1435 and 1460. They were much admired from the beginning, and Lorenzo de Medici was so enamoured with them that he purchased one of the paintings, and forcibly installed the others in the Palazzo Medici. The painting hangs in the Louvre, while its siblings can be found in London's National Gallery, and Florence's Uffizi. The Uffizi painting is the only one of the three to be signed by the artist, and it is thought that it is meant to be the central, and therefore most visible, panel of the set.

The Decisive Counterattack of Michelotto da Cotignola at the Battle of San Romano Paolo Uccello