June 23, 2024

Verrocchio’s First Comprehensive Exhibition Explores His Innovation in Renaissance Art and Culture at National Gallery of Art, September 15, 2019 through January 12, 2020

The National Gallery of Art presenting Verrocchio: Sculptor and Painter of Renaissance Florence, the first-ever monographic exhibition in the United States on Andrea del Verrocchio (c. 1435–1488), the innovative artist, painter, sculptor, and teacher whose pupils included Leonardo da Vinci, Pietro Perugino, and likely Sandro Botticelli as well. The exhibition examines the wealth and breadth of Verrocchio’s extraordinary artistry by bringing together some 50 of his masterpieces in painting, sculpture, and drawing that allow viewers to appreciate how his work in each art form stimulated creativity in the others. Groundbreaking technical research explores Verrocchio’s materials and techniques, offering revelations about his artistic choices. Several carefully argued new attributions in different media are proposed in the exhibition. The sole American venue, Verrocchio: Sculptor and Painter of Renaissance Florence will be on view at the National Gallery of Art from September 15, 2019, through January 12, 2020.

As a sculptor, Verrocchio was the most important figure in Renaissance art between Donatello and Michelangelo, making works of unprecedented technical accomplishment and breathtaking naturalism and beauty. As a painter, he formed a direct link in the central chain of Florentine painting between his master, Fra Filippo Lippi, and his own pupil, Leonardo da Vinci. As a draftsman, he was a pivotal figure who explored new media techniques and functions of drawing and profoundly influenced Leonardo, Raphael, and others. As a teacher, he headed a studio that became a kind of laboratory for experimentation and innovation and helped lead to the creation of the High Renaissance in the early 16th century. It is no accident that of the founders of the High Renaissance—Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael—one was the pupil of Verrocchio and the other two were trained by pupils of Verrocchio.

“A ‘Renaissance man’ in every way, Andrea del Verrocchio was a pioneering, versatile artist whose talents stood out for their brilliance,” said Kaywin Feldman, director, National Gallery of Art. “We are grateful to the institutions and private collectors, as well as to the Bank of America and to the Buffy and William Cafritz Family Fund, without whom this exhibition would not be possible.”

“Verrocchio was a visionary,” said Andrew Butterfield, the exhibition curator and an internationally recognized expert on the artist. “He had a restless imagination and a relentless drive to experiment and improve on what he or anyone else had done before. But he was also like the maestro of an orchestra who could bring together many talents and draw forth the best from them. This was one of his secrets as a teacher.”

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art in collaboration with the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi Florence, and the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, where a different version of the show is on view from March 9–July 14, 2019.  Bank of America is the proud lead sponsor of the exhibition. Generous support has been kindly provided by the Buffy and William Cafritz Family Fund.