Saturday 16 March 2019

Exhibition in Florence dedicated to Verrocchio at the Palazzo Strozzi and the Bargello

A fabulous exhibition in Florence dedicated to Verrocchio at the Palazzo Strozzi and the Bargello joins the list of unmissable art shows hosted by the Palazzo Strozzi over the years.

From 9 March to 14 July 2019, over 120 paintings, sculptures and drawings from art galleries and museums in a number of countries is on display. They include wonderful works by Verrocchio, the teacher of Leonardo da Vinci, as well as works by the best-known artists associated with his workshop in the second half of the 15 C, among them Domenico Ghirlandaio, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino and Leonardo da Vinci, his most famous apprentice. The curators have attempted to illustrate Leonardo’s early artistic career and interaction with Verrocchio by juxtapositions.

Verrocchio's Dama del Mazzolino, viewed from behind
Verrocchio's Dama del Mazzolino, viewed from behind, in the Bargello.
Verrocchio was born in Florence ca. 1435 to Michele di Francesco Cioni, a tile and brick maker, and later a tax collector. Little is known about his life but he was initally apprenticed to a goldsmith. There is no real evidence that he was later apprenticed to Donatello and verylittle evidence that he trained as a painter under Fra Filippo Lippi. His main works are dated in his last twenty years and his advancement owed much to the patronage of Lorenzo de' Medici and his son Piero. His workshop was in Florence where he was a member of the Guild of St Luke. Several great artists including Leonardo da Vinci and Lorenzo di Credi passed through his workshop as apprentices, and artists such as Domenico Ghirlandaio, Francesco Botticini and Pietro Perugino probably worked in some kind of association with Verrocchio. Their early works can be hard to distinguish those of Verrocchio. At the end of his life, he opened a new workshop in Venice where he was working on the statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni, leaving the Florentine workshop in charge of Lorenzo di Credi. He died in Venice in 1488.

The Baptism of Christ by Verrocchio and Leonardo
The Baptism of Christ by Verrocchio - the angel to the lower left is very likely by Leonardo.

The exhibition is part of the programme of celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death and is the first retrospective ever devoted to Verrocchi. Don't miss it!

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