Andrea del Verrocchio.

Born in Florence in 1435 Andrea del Verrocchio trained as a goldsmith. He was multi-talented and, in addition to his metalworking prowess, was very proficient in the skills of painting and sculpture. He established his own workshop which became very popular with the Medici, those great patrons of Italian art. Andrea, his pupils and assistants, managed a large workload of multiple commissions.

Many of Andrea's pupils became famous artists in their own right and included; Leonardo da Vinci, Perugino, Ghirlandaio and Sandro Botticelli.

The Ruskin Madonna, Andrea del Verrocchio

  Madonna and Child
('The Ruskin Madonna')
National Gallery of Scotland. (s)

Painted in c. 1469, of all Verrocchio's paintings this is my personal favourite. The work was once owned by the 19th-century art critic John Ruskin, hence the secondary title.

The artists use of perspective is evident in this picture. Look how well he has painted the architecture, with the ground receding to a vanishing point somewhere beyond the wall in the background. Also, the arch gives a tantalising glimmer of the open space in the distance.

A beautifully composed work.

Tobias and the Angel by Andrea del Verrocchio

 Tobias and the Angel. c1470, National Gallery London. (w)

This has been attributed to Verrocchio's workshop so how much is by the master himself and which parts are painted by his pupils is a matter of opinion. Certainly, Leonardo da Vinci may have painted some of the details such as the fish or the dog.

 Personal Opinion:-

Vasari famously states that Andrea considered that Leonardo’s painting skills had surpassed his own and he vowed never to paint again.

Given Vasari's tendency to add rather romantic stories to his historical content, it seems unlikely that this version of events has any basis in fact.

His Baptism of Christ, painted in 1474-1475, is famous because his chief assistant on the work was none other than Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci completed the background and the angel on the left of the picture.

The Baptism of Christ by Andrea del Verrocchio

The Baptism of Christ, (left) 1474-1475, Verrocchio and Leonardo. (w)

Christ and St Thomas, by Andrea del Verrocchio

Christ and St. Thomas (1467–1483)
Detail, Bronze 230cm Orsanmichele, Florence. (w)

David by Verrocchio


Between 1473 and 1475 Andrea executed a bronze statue of the young David, depicted holding a sword with the head of the slain Goliath at his feet. Popular legend claims that the model for this work is Andrea's pupil Leonardo da Vinci.

Madonna and Saints with John the Baptist. Verrocchio

The Madonna with the Saints John the Baptist and Donatus. (w)

1475-1483 Type Wood Dimensions 189 cm × 191 cm (74 in × 75 in) Duomo di Pistoia.

The equestrian statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni is Verrocchio's most famous work and was commissioned by the Republic of Venice in 1478. The artist submitted a wax model of the work in 1488 and he moved to Venice to oversee the casting of the statue.

Bartolomeo Colleoni by Andrea del Verrocchio

Bartolomeo Colleoni. (w)

Verrocchio fell ill and unfortunately never got to see this famous statue, he died in 1488 before the work could be finished.

An artist who has been largely overshadowed by his famous pupil, Leonardo da Vinci, Andrea del Verrocchio is one of the most important figures of the Italian Renaissance. His influence on the generation of artists who followed him cannot be underestimated and he deserves his place at the high table of art history.