Formally a private home, the 16th Century Palazzo Strozzi provides historic context to the show, which spans artistic output in Florence from 1460 to 1490 - the glorious age of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Curated by two of the world's leading experts of Quattrocento art, Francesco Caglioti and Andrea De Marchi, the exhibition showcases over 120 paintings, sculptures and drawings. Verrocchio, Master of Leonardo is one of a series of international events marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, and brings valuable insight into the early influence of Florence and Verrocchio on his oeuvre.
The exhibition presents sculptural masterpieces from Verrocchio alongside some of his most famous paintings, including the celebrated David on loan from the Museo del Bargello, and Putto with Dolphin , from Palazzo Vecchio. Painting works 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 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 ) is being displayed alongside Leonardo da Vinci's Study of female hands , generously loaned by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection.
Andrea del Verrocchio (Florence, c. 1435–Venice, 1488), Winged Boy with Dolphin, c. 1470–5, bronze, 70.3 x 50.5 x 35 cm. Florence, Musei Civici Fiorentini – Museo di Palazzo Vecchio, inv. MCF-PV 2004-10615. This sculpture was restored with a generous contribution from the Friends of Florence.
Andrea del Verrocchio (Florence, about 1435 - Venice, 1488) Lady with flowers (Dama dal mazzolino), about 1475, marble, 59 x 46 x 24. Florence, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, inv. Sculptures 115.
Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci, 1452 - Amboise, 1519), A study of a woman's hands, c.1474-1486. Charcoal, metalpoint, white heightening, on pale pinkish-buff prepared paper, 21.5 x 15.0 cm (sheet of paper). Windsor Castle, Royal Library, The Royal Collection Trust, inv. RCIN 912558 (loaned by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II). Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.
A prototype of the universal genius, Verrocchio experimented passionately with diverse techniques and materials, from drawing to carving in marble, painting to 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 an entire generation of masters, developing and generously sharing his knowledge and discoveries.
The exhibition ideally links Palazzo Strozzi with the Museo del Bargello as distinct but complementary places of an exhibition itinerary divided into eleven sections, of which nine at Palazzo Strozzi and two at the Bargello Museum, dedicated to the theme of the image of Christ and where it will be exposed Incredulity of St. Thomas , Verrocchio's bronze masterpiece.
Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci, 1452 - Amboise, 1519), The Madonna and Child with the infant Baptist, and heads in profile, Pen and ink, 40.5 x 29.0 cm (sheet of paper). Windsor Castle, Royal Library, The Royal Collection Trust, inv. RCIN 912276 (loaned by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II). Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.
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, characterised by its focus on beauty, nature and aristocratic elegance, throughout Italy and beyond.
“For an art historian, this exhibition is a dream come true" – says Arturo Galansino, Director General of the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi – “Producing the first exhibition on Andrea del Verrocchio , in many ways the father of the High Renaissance, is a unique and ambitious undertaking which has been made possible by our collaboration with the Museo del Bargello and by exceptional loans from all over the world. We have been working for almost five years to allow Palazzo Strozzi to host this major exhibition showcasing the multi-faceted talents and activities of Verrocchio and his workshop whilst simultaneously exploring the genius of Leonardo da Vinci in the very year in which Florence and Tuscany are set to become iconic venues for the international celebrations devoted to commemorating the 500th anniversary of his death. With this show Palazzo Strozzi consolidates its role as a leading exhibition centre in Italy, capable of creating added value for the city of Florence and for its territory”.
Andrea del Verrocchio (Florence, about 1435 - Venice, 1488), Madonna and Child, 1470 or 1475, tempera and oil on panel, 75.8 x 54.6 cm. Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie, inv. 104° © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Christoph Schmidt.
Sandro Botticelli (Sandro di Mariano Filipepi; Florence, 1445-1510), Madonna and Child with two angels, circa 1468, tempera on panel, 100 x 71 cm. Naples, Museum and Real Bosco di Capodimonte, inv. Q46. Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali-Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte.
Andrea del Verrocchio (Florence, about 1435 - Venice, 1488), Madonna and Child, circa 1470, tempera on panel, 75.8 x 47.9 cm. Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie, inv. 108 © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Christoph Schmidt
Andrea del Verrocchio (Florence, about 1435 - Venice, 1488), Madonna and Child with two angels (Madonna di Volterra), circa 1471-1472, tempera on wood, 96.5 x 70.5 cm. London, The National Gallery, inv. NG296 (purchase 1857) © The National Gallery, London.
Andrea del Verrocchio (Florence, about 1435 - Venice, 1488) and workshop, Tobias and the Angel, circa 1470-1472, tempera on panel, 83.6 x 66 cm. London, The National Gallery, inv. NG781 (purchase 1867) © The National Gallery, London.
Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci, 1452 - Amboise, 1519), Madonna and Child, circa 1472, terracotta, 49 x 27 x 24.5 cm. London, Victoria and Albert Museum, inv. 4495-1858 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Andrea del Verrocchio (Florence, about 1435 - Venice, 1488), Incredulity of St. Thomas, 1467-1483, bronze with gilding. Group: 241 x 140 x 105 cm; Christ: 241 x 94 x 60 cm, St. Thomas: 203 x 90 x 90 cm. Florence, Church and Museum of Orsanmichele (from the tabernacle of the University of Mercanzia) Bargello Museums, Florence. Su concessione del Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali.
Andrea del Verrocchio (Florence, about 1435 - Venice, 1488), San Girolamo, circa 1465- 1470, tempera su carta incollata su tavola, cm 40 x 26. Firenze, Gallerie degli Uffizi, Galleria Palatina di Palazzo Pitti, inv. (1912) 370. Gabinetto Fotografico delle Gallerie degli Uffizi. Foto Francesco del Vecchio
Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci, 1452 - Amboise, 1519), Drapery of a seated figure, seen almost frontally (Draperie pour une figure assise), circa 1475-1480, watercolors brown, gray and tempera white lead on canvas prepared in gray color flax (outline traces in pen and points to black ink with preparatory function, the upper and lower corners on the left are compensated and matched with gray, contrasted), 266 x 233 mm. Paris, Musée du Louvre, Département des Arts Graphiques, inv. 2255. Photo © RMNGrand Palais (Musée du Louvre) / Michel Urtado.
Andrea del Verrocchio (Florence, about 1435 - Venice, 1488) and collaborators, Crucifix, circa 1475, carved wood, cork, gypsum and linen paintings (on a non- original cross, redone arms), Christ height 98 x 103. Firenze, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, inv. Depositi 60 (in deposito dalla Venerabile Confraternita di San Girolamo e di San Francesco Poverino). Su concessione del Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali.