Verrocchio, Leonardo’s master

From March 9 in Florence a major exhibition celebrates Andrea del Verrocchio, artist symbol of the Renaissance and master of Leonardo da Vinci

Andrea del Verrocchio (Florence, circa 1435 – Venice, 1488) Madonna and Child, circa 1470, tempera on wood, 75.8 x 47.9 cm. Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie, inv. 108 ©Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Christoph Schmidt

Florence  – From March 9 to July 14, 2019 Verrocchio, Leonardo’s master presents for the first time at Palazzo Strozzi, with a special section at the National Museum of Bargello, extraordinary masterpieces by Andrea del Verrocchio, in close confrontation with capital works by precursors, contemporary artists and disciples, such as Desiderio da Settignano, Domenico del Ghirlandaio, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Bartolomeo della Gatta, Lorenzo di Credi and Leonardo da Vinci. In 2019 we celebrate the five hundredth anniversary of the death of the latter, his greatest pupil, and the exhibition of Palazzo Strozzi and the National Museum of Bargello is offered as one of the most important events at international level in the context of Leonardo’s celebrations.
Curated by two of the greatest experts of the fifteenth century, Francesco Caglioti and Andrea De Marchi, the exhibition includes over 120 works including paintings, sculptures and drawings, with loans from over seventy of the most important museums and private collections in the world as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The exhibition is the first retrospective ever dedicated to Verrocchio, at the same time showing the beginnings of Leonardo da Vinci, with seven of his works, some of which are exhibited for the first time in Italy. An extraordinary exhibition that offers a glimpse into the artistic production at Florence between about 1460 and 1490, the time of Lorenzo the Magnificent.
An emblematic Renaissance artist and prototype of the universal genius, Verrocchio
he experimented with different techniques and materials in his workshop, from drawing to marble sculpture, from painting to bronze casting. He formed a whole generation of masters, with whom he developed and generously shared his knowledge. In the history of art only Giotto, Donatello and Raffaello have given rise to a “school” comparable to that of Verrocchio. Through his teaching artists were formed who have spread throughout Italy, and outside, the taste and figurative language of Florence, as evidenced by works such as the David on loan from the National Museum of the
Bargello, one of the absolute symbols of the art of the Renaissance and of the city of Florence itself, and the Putto col dolfino, on loan from the Museum of Palazzo Vecchio, capital work and model of naturalness. The sculpture is accompanied by supreme paintings such as the Madonna and Child of the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin or the Madonna and Child with Angels and the Archangel Raphael and Tobiolo of the National Gallery in London: masterpieces presented together for the first time, which attest to the extraordinary talent of Verrocchio in the field of painting, where he became a reference point for his famous students.
There is also a formidable selection of drawings and paintings on linen from some of the most important museums in the world, which will allow a lively and direct comparison between the works of the master and those of his students, as in the case of the famous Lady of the Bargello hammer placed next to the study of Arms and female hands of Leonardo da Vinci, generously lent by His Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. A fundamental part of the exhibition are in fact works by the young Leonardo, who in the seventies worked in the workshop of Verrocchio, contributing to the
transition to the Modern Manner, one of the most exciting themes of art of all time.
The exhibition aims to illustrate the inexhaustible creative vein of the master in a deep and continuous interweaving between painting and sculpture, presenting his work in constant dialogue with students out of the ordinary, for whom his workshop was a place of intense experimentation and sharing.
An important topic of the exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi is the attribution to the young Leonardo da Vinci of the Madonna and Child, a terracotta sculpture that for the first time comes from the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, of which it has been part since 1858 and where it is usually exhibited as a work by Antonio Rossellino. At Palazzo Strozzi, this terracotta – probably the only existing sculpture attributable to Leonardo – is presented in direct dialogue with a selection of extraordinary draperies painted on linen by Leonardo himself, with which he presents timely feedback. Similarly, it can be compared with other famous works by the master, such as the Annunciation of the Uffizi, the Virgin of the Rocks and the Saint Anne of the Louvre.


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