Andrea Del Verrocchio

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Verrocchio, Andrea Del


(properly Andrea di Michele Cioni). Born 1435 or 1436 in Florence; died Oct. 7, 1488, in Venice. Italian sculptor, painter, and jeweler of the early Renaissance.

Verrocchio studied under the jeweler Verrocchio (whose name he adopted), A. Baldovinetti, and possibly Antonio Rossellino. He was influenced by Desiderio da Settignano and A. Pollaiuolo. In 1467 he began executing commissions for the Medici, the rulers of Florence. Verrocchio’s creative work combined the realistic traditions of the Florentine quattrocento and the aristocratic refinement characteristic of the artists who worked at the court of the Medici during the last quarter of the 15th century. In his early work—the tomb of Giovanni and Piero de’ Medici (done in porphyry, colored marble, and bronze, 1472; Old Sacristry of the Church of San Lorenzo in Florence)—Verrocchio achieved a harmonic quality of proportion and a graceful decorativeness of the forms. His statue David (bronze, 1473-75; National Museum, Florence), distinguished for its anatomical precision, meticulous modeling, jewel-like subtlety of finish, and sharp and elegant angularity of lines, embodied a new, aristocratically refined ideal of beauty.

Verrocchio executed a number of portraits distinguished by an accurate portrayal of the subject—for example, a bust of Giuliano de’ Medici, terra-cotta, National Gallery of Art, Washington; and Portrait of a Woman, marble, c. 1475, National Museum, Florence—and works of monumental-decorative sculpture. In the group Christ and St. Thomas (bronze, 1476-83, facade of Or San Michele in Florence) the artist created an inner significance of the images, a freedom of composition, and a natural interrelationship of the figures.

Verrocchio’s central work—the equestrian statue of B. Colleoni on the plaza of SS Giovanni e Paolo in Venice (1479-88; cast in bronze, 1490)—is a vivid embodiment of Renaissance individualism. The heroicized figure of the condottiere is executed with rigorous energy and dynamic tension. The few paintings done by Verrocchio (Madonna, c. 1470, Staatliche Museen, Berlin-Dahlem, and The Baptism of Christ, post 1470, Uffizi Gallery in Florence, executed with the help of Leonardo da Vinci, for example) are distinguished by their sharp and precise drawing, as well as a sculpture-like meticulousness in the modeling of the forms. Verrocchio was the teacher of many Italian artists, including Leonardo da Vinci, Lorenzo di Credi, and Perugino.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.