Verrocchio, Andrea del

Verrocchio, Andrea del
   Italian sculptor and painter who worked primarily for the Medici and who trained Leonardo da Vinci in his workshop. Among his paintings are the Baptism of Christ (1472-1475) in the Uffizi, commissioned for the monastery Church of San Salvi, Florence, the Virgin and Child with Sts. John the Baptist and Donatus (1475-1483) at the Cathedral of Pistoia, and Tobias and the Angel (1470-1480) in the London National Gallery. These works demonstrate Verrocchio's keen interest in rendering the details of the human anatomy. Along with Antonio del Pollaiuolo, he in fact was among the first artists to utilize a scientific approach to the study of the human form, engaging in dissections to gain understanding of the body's underlying structure.
   Verrocchio's greatest achievements are in sculpture. His Doubting of Thomas (c. 1465-1483) at Orsanmichele, Florence, commissioned by the Guild of Merchants, is a scene of intense drama achieved by the movement of Thomas' hand toward Christ's side wound, Christ's blessing hand over the saint's head, and the complicated curvilinear folds of the draperies. The David (early 1470s; Florence, Museo Nazionale del Bargello) he created for Lorenzo "the Magnificent" de' Medici as a commentary on Donatello's bronze David, also in the Medici collection. Unlike Donatello's version, Verrocchio's is clothed, less sensuous, with a sword that accords with the figure's scale, a head of Goliath visible from the front, a less exaggerated sway of the body, and well-defined musculature. Verrocchio's final work is his Colleoni Monument (1481-1496) in the Campo dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice. Loosely based on Donatello's Equestrian Monument of Gattamelata (c. 1445-1453; Padua, Piazza del Santo), it portrays the Venetian army commander as a fearless individual aggressively straddling his horse. Verrocchio's interest in physiognomy, evidenced by Colleoni's leonine facial features, exerted tremendous influence on his pupil, Leonardo.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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  • Verrocchio, Andrea del — born 1435, Florence died 1488, Venice Italian sculptor and painter. Little is certain about his early life. His most important works were executed in his final two decades under the patronage of the Medici in his native Florence. His reputation… …   Universalium

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