The first comprehensive retrospective devoted to Andrea del Verrocchio (1435-1488) is open in Florence this Spring at the Palazzo Strozzi, with an accompanying presentation at the Museo Nazionale del Bargello.
Verrocchio, Master of Leonardo will bring together masterpieces by Verrocchio from collections around the world, contextualized by works from his forefathers and peers, as well as by the pupils he worked intensively with, including Leonardo da Vinci, Pietro Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Sandro Botticelli . The exhibition will demonstrate Verrocchio’s remarkable creativity as a solo artist, illustrating his workshop as a crucial place of collaboration, exchange and co-working, where the language and the style of Renaissance art in Florence was forged.
Formally a private home, the 16th Century Palazzo Strozzi will provide historic context to the show, which will span artistic output from Florence from 1460 to 1490 – the glorious age of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Curated by two of the world’s leading experts of 15th Century art, Francesco Caglioti and Andrea De Marchi, the exhibition will showcase over 120 paintings, sculptures and drawings with loans from over seventy major museums and private collections across the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Uffizi Galleries in Florence. Verrocchio, Master of Leonardo is one of a series of international events marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci and will bring valuable insight into the early influence of Florence and Verrocchio on his oeuvre.
The exhibition will present sculptural masterpieces from Verrocchio alongside some of his most famous paintings, including the celebrated David on loan from the Museo del Bargello, and Winged Boy with Dolphin, from Palazzo Vecchio. Paintings by the master will include two versions of the Madonna and Child, on loan from the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, and Tobias and the Angel and the Madonna and Child with Angels, from the National Gallery in London. A selection of drawings and chiaroscuro works will enable visitors to make direct comparisons between the work of the master and that of his pupils; Verrocchio’s celebrated Bust of a Lady (Lady with Flowers) will be displayed alongside Leonardo da Vinci’s Study of female hands, generously loaned by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection.TO
A key highlight of the exhibition will be the new attribution of a work to a young Leonardo Da Vinci. Previously attributed to Antonio Rossellino, Virgin with the Laughing Child, a terracotta sculpture that has belonged to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, since 1858 has been revealed to be a work by the Italian master, Da Vinci. In Palazzo Strozzi, this sculpture – probably the only sculpture that can be attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci – will be presented in direct dialogue with a selection of outstanding draperies painted on linen by Leonardo, highlighting a number of very striking stylistic similarities. The work can also be compared with other famous works of the master such as the Uffizi Annunciation or the Virgin of the Rocks and the St. Anne in the Louvre.
“This superb Madonna has no direct or persuasive points of comparison with any other Florentine Renaissance sculpture, yet it has very many points of comparison with Leonardo’s drawings and paintings, particularly with his youthful work but also with his more mature output”, said Professor Francesco Caglioti, the exhibition’s curator, adding: “Having spent a long time in Verrocchio’s workshop, Leonardo must have learned to model clay extremely well, ‘making in his youth, in clay, some heads of women that are smiling […] and likewise some heads of boys which appeared to have issued from the hand of a master ‘, as Vasari reminds us “.
The original polymath, Verrocchio experimented passionately with various techniques and materials, from drawing and painting to carving in marble and casting in bronze. Comparable only to the schools of Giotto, Donatello and Raphael, Verrocchio’s workshop was an exceptionally creative and collaborative environment, where he forged a generation of masters developing and sharing his knowledge and discoveries. As a result of this collaborative environment, it is almost impossible to attribute multiple works from the period to the many artists that trained there. 500 years on, attributing works from Verrocchio’s workshop continues to be the subject of an ongoing and lively scholarly debate. What is not contested, is how Verrocchio’s teaching led to the formation of a generation of artists who spread the taste and style of the Florentine Renaissance, characterized by its focus on beauty, nature and aristocratic elegance, throughout Italy and beyond. Museo del Bargello, the exhibition will be divided into eleven sections – nine at Palazzo Strozzi and two at the Museo del Bargello that will be dedicated to image of Christ and will exhibit Verrocchio’s bronze masterpiece, Incredulity of St. Thomas.
“I am delighted with this partnership with the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation,” said Paola D’Agostino, Director of the Musei del Bargello, adding: “It has produced a unique exhibition organized in two venues. I would like to thank Palazzo Strozzi Director General Arturo Galansino, for working together on this splendid example of institutional cooperation. The first ever monographic exhibition devoted to Verrocchio will illustrate the artist’s early life and work, his cooperation with talented young artists and his crucial influence on the art of the early 16th century. The Museo Nazionale del Bargello, with its celebrated collection of Renaissance sculpture, is the ideal venue to illustrate the importance of such a remarkable artist and a workshop that was to forge an entire generation of 15th Century masters in Italy and in Europe “.
The exhibition is part of a rich network of collaborations with museums and institutions in Florence, in the territory, as well as abroad. Notable among these are the collaborations with the Opera of Santa Maria del Fiore and with the Opera Medicea Laurenziana, that contain defining masterpieces by Verrocchio.
The exhibition also confirms the role of the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation in enhancing Italian artistic heritage with an important restoration campaign. Fourteen works have been submitted to interventions and scientific investigations that are fundamental for their broader understanding and protection. Particularly significant is the restoration of the Winged Boy with Dolphin of Palazzo Vecchio made possible by the generous intervention of Friends of Florence.
Verrocchio, Master of Leonardo
Florence, Palazzo Strozzi
With a special section at the Museo Nazionale del Bargello
March 9 – July 14, 2019
Daily 10.00-20.00, Thursday 10.00-23.00. Last admission one hour before closing.
Full € 13.00; Reduced € 10.00; Schools € 4.00. For Museo Nazionale del Bargello, UAM Pass and Bargello combine ticket holders special price € 9.00