Study for the Head of an Angel Andrea del Verrocchio Buy Art Prints Now
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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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This Study for the Head of an Angel by Andrea del Verrocchio is one of the few remaining drawings left from this master's career.


This drawing was produced using black chalk on paper and is loosely dated to the late 15th century. The angel itself would have been a small part of a larger composition, and so it should be possible to track which painting this was a study for.

Partnership with Leonardo

The style of the facial features in this portrait will remind many of the drawings of Da Vinci, and the two would work closely together. Indeed, Da Vinci was himself a draughtsman of extraordinary capability and someone that even his masters would learn from.


This drawing is believed today to be in the permanent collection of the Uffizi Gallery in Italy, though there is no information available on it online. This prestigious gallery does host completed paintings by del Verrocchio, which have been discussed in more detail.


The artist is known to have completed drawings in both charcoal and various tones of chalk. He practiced portraiture, finding it to be the most rewarding but challenging genre. Many of his paintings would capture several figures in close detail, and he also felt a competitive instinct with regards his colleague, da Vinci, who was already an accomplished portrait painter.

The angel in this drawing looks away from the viewer, down to the left hand corner. Her eyes are almost entirely closed, but head is directed in this angle. Her hair is distinctly curly, running down both sides of her head, but is tighter and straighter on the very top of her head.

Her lips are prominent, and the overall structure of her face is delicate, and feminine as traditions would determine at that time. The artist carefully shades the right hand side of the piece, from the viewer's direction, in order to bring out more features and allow the artwork to come out with depth.

A close examination of the drawing also reveals multiple layers of chalk marks, where the artist has worked in initial lines before then applying greater detail. These are in different colors, allowing us to appreciate more of his work, and the stages of development that he used.

Stylistically, much of this work is entirely typical of portraiture in Italy during this period, and could easily have been from another related artist, were it not fairly conclusively attributed to del Verrocchio.


Study for the Head of an Angel by Andrea del Verrocchio offers a rare insight into the drawings of this great master, with most of his other works in this medium having been lost over the years that have passed since. His connection to Da Vinci helps to keep his work in our thoughts, and his own legacy was considerable.

Those interested in his drawings will also find further examples in the collections of the Uffizi Gallery, as well as the British Museum in London.