Verrocchio - U3A in Swansea

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VERROCCHIO
1435-1488
BACKGROUND
• Son of a brick and tile maker.
• Trained as a goldsmith, became a painter and
draftsman but is considered principally a
sculptor.
• Financial insecurity was always a family
problem and he had to support many of his
siblings.
• There is a general assumption that he and
Botticelli worked together under the master
Fra Filippo Lippi.
• He had a studio in Florence and became a
member of the Guild of St Luke.
• He worked in the court of Lorenzo de Medici.
• None of his works as a goldsmith have
survived.
• Few of his paintings and sculptures can totally
or definitely be attributed to him.
• However his reputation was widespread in the
second half of 15th century and many of the
well known artists of the Italian Renaissance
studied painting and sculpture at his
Florentine Studio.
• Leonardo da Vinci (1458-1537) and Lorendo da
Credi (1452-1519) were apprenticed to him and
his influence on the Florentine school of artists is
considered profound.
• Apart from Leonardo da Vinci another important
student of his Florentine workshop was Perugino
who was later to be Raphael’s teacher.
• He has been attributed as being the most
influential Florentine of the second half of the
15th Century.
MOTIVATION/AIMS.
PATRONAGE/OBJECTIVES.
• His rise to artistic prominence was due to
encouragement by Piero de Medici and his
son Lorenzo.
• This appears to have begun after the death of
the sculptor Donatello in 1466 (who had been
the Medici favourite).
• He produced paintings and sculptures and
also designed costumes and decorative
armour for Medici festivals, tournaments and
solemn receptions.
• He was made curator of the collection of
antiquities in the Medici palace.
• He restored many pieces of ancient roman
sculpture especially portrait busts.
WORKS
• None of his works as a goldsmith are considered
to have survived.
• His paintings are often considered difficult to
attribute totally to him. He is known to have
worked in oils, tempera ,charcoal and pen and
ink.
• His sculptures also are not able to be totally
attributed to him. He is known to have worked in
clay, bronze and terracotta.
Paintings/ Drawings
• The following five paintings and one drawing
are those often discussed in relation to
Verrocchio.
• The first three are all of Madonna and child.
• The fourth is Tobias and The Angel.
• The fifth is The Baptism of Christ.
• The drawing is Head of Woman.
MADONNA WITH CHILD
1468-70. Gemaldegalerie Berlin.
Considered an early work.
1470-75. Metropolitan Museum .New York.
Considered to be based on a design by him.
VIRGIN AND CHILD WITH
ANGELS
1467 -69. National Gallery.
London.
VIRGIN AND CHILD
WITH ANGELS.
1467-69.
National Gallery. London.
This painting was not
attributed to him until
2010 following
restoration at the
national gallery
London.
TOBIAS AND THE
ANGEL. 1470-80.
National Gallery. London.
This was probably
painted as a private
devotional picture.
This was formally
attributed to Pollainolo
and others.
• BAPTISM OF
CHRIST 1474-75.
• Uffizi. Florence.
• This was largely
executed by his pupil
Lorenzo di Credi.
• Accredited to
Verrocchio in 1550.
• The angel on the right
and part of the distant
landscape was painted
by Leonardo da Vinci.
• DRAWING.
HEAD OF
WOMAN. 1475.
• British Museum.
• Sketching – charcoal,
pen and brown ink.
• Verrocchio credited
with inventing this
type of ideal beauty
generally associated
with Botticelli.
SCULPTURES
• The following sculptures are those commonly
described.
• His sculpture of David is compared and
contrasted with Donatello’s sculpture of
David.
• His sculpture of Condottiero Colleoni is also
compared and contrasted with Donatello’s
Condottiero Gattemelata.
• DAVID. 1460’s
Florence.
• Bronze statue of a
young man modestly
clad commissioned by
Piero de Medici.
• It has been suggested
that the new young
apprentice Leonardo
da Vinci was his
model.
DAVID
(by Donatello 1440).
Florence.
• This scantily clad youth
contrasts with
Verrocchio’s modestly
clad David.
• This bronze was also
commissioned by the
Medici family some
twenty years earlier.
DAVID
VERROCCHIO’S
DONATELLO’S
CHRIST AND ST.
THOMAS. 1467-83.
Florence.
• Bronze group
commissioned by
the guilds of
Florence for the
centre tabernacle on
the east facade of a
Florentine church to
replace a statue of
Louis of Toulouse
which had been
removed.
• He had to place two
statues (life size) in a
space designed for
one.
• This bronze is noted
for its technical
perfection,
composition and
design and his
understanding of the
emotional nature of
the subject.
• Considered a
masterpiece from its
unveiling.
PUTTO. (Winged boy with
dolphin.)1465-80.
Florence.
• Intended for a festival in a
Medici villa.
• Sometimes called a cupid and
it is considered to be
precisely balanced in the
projection of its limbs.
• It is important for its spiral
design which allows for all
views to be of equal
significance.
• It was probably initially
placed on a fountain so that
it could be turned by the
pressure of streams or jets of
water.
• Brought to Florence in the
mid sixteenth century by
Cosimo de Medici.
• It was reinstalled on top of a
fountain designed for a
courtyard in Florence.
• Now in Florentine museum.
CONDOTTIERO
COLLEONI. 147988.
Venice.
• Bartolomeo Colleoni,
professional soldier died.
• Large part of his estate
was left to the Venetian
Republic on condition
they commission a
statue of him.
• A competition was
arranged to choose a
sculptor.
• Three competed and
Verrocchio won.
• He then opened another
studio in Venice.
• He made the final clay
model ready for casting
in bronze.
• He died in 1488 before
completion.
• Alessandro Leopardi
(one of his competitors
in the commissioning
selection process) did
the casting and polishing
to complete the
sculpture.
• Erected in Venice in
1496.
ANOTHER VIEW
OF COLLEONI.
• It has been
suggested that the
movement of the
horse and the
commanding gaze
of Colleoni gives
the impression
that the warrior is
riding into battle
at the head of his
troops who press
behind.
• It is considered that
the soldier and his
horse have become
the embodiment of
will power, as well as
a purposeful and
ruthless machine.
• It is considered to
have been contrived
with great technical
assurance and was
modelled with power
and sensitivity.
• It is said that it was
unlikely that he ever
met Colleoni and the
statue is unlikely to
be a portrait of the
man but rather the
idea of a strong and
ruthless military
commander.
• It is argued that this
work shows the
individuality of his
achievement.
CONDOTTIERO
GATTEMELATA
(DONATELLO 1453)
Padua
• This statue was sculpted
some thirty years before
Verrocchio’s Colleoni.
• Donatello’s statue was
considered to have an air
of calm command.
• Verrocchio’s statue was
considered to show
movement and a sense of
strain and energy.
CONDOTTIERO
VERROCCHIO’S COLLEONI
DONATELLO’S GATTAMELATA
BUST OF LORENZO
DE MEDICI. 1485.
Washington DC. USA.
• His versatility is further
seen in his portraiture.
• This bust was made in
terracotta.
BUST OF A
WOMAN HOLDING
A POSY. 1475-80.
Florence.
• The folds of the
woman's dress are
considered the work of
a master sculptor.
• The head looks out and
slightly upwards and
the hands are placed
irregularly on the
breast.
• The hands are the first
to be shown in a
portrait bust.
• The Florentines
admired the beauty of
her hands and
considered that they
have a quality that
transcends joints.
• Botticelli would
immortalize the same
quality in his paintings
LEGACY
• Verrocchio's versatility was considered unique
even in a time when artists were proficient in
most media and techniques.
• The study of contrasting expressions and
Leonardo da Vinci's twisting pose (figura
serpentinata) originate with Verrocchio.
• We have seen examples of this twisting
movement in both his sculptures, “Putto with
Dolphins” and “The Colleoni” monument.
• His Colleoni statue is considered to be
aesthetically the most important equestrian
statue of the Renaissance.
• It was considered an innovative, scenic, graphic
conception which was influential in the
development of equestrian figures, from the
Baroque period of the seventeen century to
those produced in the nineteenth century by
sculptors of the Romantic style.
• He obviously was highly thought of and perhaps
he contributed greatly to the phrase we use
today,” the renaissance man”!
Accreditations
• The Art Book - Phaidon.
• Encyclopaedia Britannica – Gunter Passavant
• Eyewitness Companions Art –Robert
Cummings.
• National Gallery. London
• The Thames and Hudson Dictionary of Art and
Artists.
• Wikipedia
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