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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on January 11, 2024
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Andrea del Verrocchio was amongst the finest artists from the Early Renaissance, though he impressed in multiple mediums.


This versatile artist was a proficient draughtsman who also held great technical abilities within painting and sculpture too. He was, in fact, initially trained as a goldsmith, and this was a common path for many visual artists initially seeking employment.

Whilst we reflect on his broad artistic skills, del Verrocchio will always be most famous as a sculptor, and even conceded that other members of his studio were superior in drawing and painting. His collaborations with them have helped to keep his own work within our thoughts.

Early Life

He was initially trained as a goldsmith which was a frequent route for many artists of the Renaissance, including Donatello who would go onto specialise in sculpture and Lorenzo Ghiberti who was his master. Architect Filippo Brunelleschi also took a similar route before choosing that specialisation.

The artist would receive commissions from Lorenzo de' Medici which allowed him to transition from his work as a goldsmith and start to progress in other disciplines. Information on his progress is limited down to his major works, and fleeing conversations between connected parties. He set up a workshop in Florence, and this ideal location enabled Andrea to mix with, and be influenced by, a number of younger talents.

Connection to Leonardo da Vinci

It is perhaps slightly unfortunate that despite his great individual achievements, his life will always be synonymous with the life and career of Renaissance powerhouse, Leonardo da Vinci. It was his studio that produced great names such as Pietro Perugino and Lorenzo di Credi, alongside the creative genius of Da Vinci. The art world is full of examples of studios where several skilled talents combine their abilities to forge a successful series of work.

The main purpose of these will be to pass on technical knowledge from master to tutor, but the influence can go both ways with Verrocchio picking up ideas from the young Leonardo. They would also share study drawings. You can learn more about the artist with these Andrea del Verrocchio quotes.

Verrocchio was actually a nickname given to the artist, that translates as true eye. This was common practice during the Renaissance, where birth names were often a little long winded and unwieldy. See also the likes of Sandro Botticelli, Masaccio and Giotto di Bondone for examples of this.

Major Sculptures

Andrea del Verrocchio is well known for his bronze sculpture of David, which was to fulfil an important commission for the Medici family. The style of the piece, and in how David is depicted, is noticeably contrasting from the alternative works by Donatello. This impressive piece today resides at the Bargello in Florence, Italy.

The artist also completed a respected bust portrait of Giuliano de' Medici, which is loosely dated to the 1470s. To be given such a task shows the respect that the Medici family held for this sculptor at this late stage in his career. The piece features a confident gaze outwards, and some delightful sculptured detail upon his armour.

Collaborative Studio

Over time the influence of each member of the artist's studio on each other meant that for a long time it was particularly difficult to identify who worked on many of the paintings that came from this group.

Added to that, many were produced in a collaborative way, further clouding the attribution as judged by art historians from more recent centuries. Some of the paintings found in this website have only recently been attributed to the master, Verrocchio.

Improvements in Attribution

The advancements in scientific techniques to analyse historial paintings have helped enormously to provide clarity here, but where artists have worked together on a single fresco, there will always be an element of guess work over which artist completed which part.

Where artist's styles have merged, as have their use of similar colours, and where working together it would always be necessary to continue the overall piece in a similar vein to avoid inconsistencies across the final painting.

Video on the Artist's Life and Career