The Sculptures of Andrea del Verrocchio

Andrew Butterfield

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Andrea del Verrocchio was the preeminent sculptor in late fifteenth-century Florence and one of the leading artists in Renaissance Europe. In every genre of statuary, Verrocchio made formal and conceptual contributions of the greatest significance, and many of his sculptures, such as the Christ and St. Thomas and the Colleoni Monument, are among the masterpieces of Renaissance art. A favorite artist of Lorenzo de’ Medici and the teacher of Leonardo da Vinci, Verrocchio was a key link between the innovations of the fifteenth century and the creations of the High Renaissance.

This beautiful catalogue raisonné is the first comprehensive and detailed study of Verrocchio’s extraordinary and innovative sculptures. Andrew Butterfield has combined careful visual analysis of the sculptures with groundbreaking research into their function, iconography, and historical context. In order to explain Verrocchio’s contributions to the different genres of Renaissance sculpture, Butterfield provides new and important information on a broad range of issues such as the typology and social history of Florentine tombs, the theoretical problems in the production of perspectival reliefs, and the origins of the Figura serpentinata. Furthermore, Butterfield draws on a spectrum of often overlooked texts to elucidate fundamental iconographical problems, for example, the significance of David in quattrocento Florence.

In its scope, depth, and clarity, The Sculptures of Andrea del Verrocchio will rank as one of the finest studies of an Italian sculptor ever published.

Andrew Butterfield is curator in the department of sculpture at Christie’s, New York.

"The first comprehensive examination of Verocchio's sculpture to be published. . . . The result of Dr. Butterfield's research is not only a more detailed look at this seminal artist, but also a significant contribution to the broader understanding of Renaissance art."—Antiques and the Arts

"The creator of such public tours de force as the Colleoni monument has never been approached with such understanding. Indeed, the easy authority of the scholarship runs the risk of leading the reader to overlook the fact that there are startling revelations and surprises on almost every page."—David Ekserdjian, Spectator

"A handsome and useful book to own."—Brian Fallon, Irish Times

"[Verrocchio] has had to wait an unconscionable time for a book worthy of his stature. At last we have it."—Evening Standard

"Butterfield, has just published a masterly monograph on the great Italian sculptor. . . . The Sculptures of Andrea del Verrocchio is the first comprehensive examination of Verrocchio's sculptures."—Christie's International Magazine

"The text is extremely readable, and the illustrations—both color and black-and-white—are dazzling in size and clarity. Supplementing the text is an extensive catalog, which covers autograph and major workshop pieces, focusing on technical and reconstruction issues. Precise summaries of documentary information are included. A handsome volume that stands as a tribute to both scholarship and connoisseurship."—Choice

"[A] splendid volume. . . . With its wealth of detail, this is essentially a book for the specialist and the art student; but its clarity and freedom of expression, as well as the finely reproduced illustrations, 250 in all, many in colour, offer a rich feast to anyone with an interest in the Italian Renaissance or in the history of art in general."—Michael Adams, Tablet

"By presenting new historical data and broaching major questions beyond the special interest of the sculptural scholar, this book merits a wide readership."—Alison Wright, Burlington Magazine

"Not only does this major and distinguished work consolidate our knowledge of Verrocchio, but the new information it presents and the new intuitions it offers will significantly change our view of this artist. Written with inspiration and intellectual gusto, this learned and scholarly work is also classic and beautiful art history. It belongs in every art history library. The richness of its text will be the basis of great future enthusiasm for and interest in Verrocchio and his times."—Christiane L. Joost-Gaugier, Sixteenth Century Journal

"Butterfield’s volume makes a significant contribution to our understanding of Verrocchio’s sculpture and provides a good basis for further research. . . . The text is full of fresh insights. Among the pleasures of the book are the excellent and abundant illustrations interspersed with the text, which help make the author’s way of seeing Verrocchio’s work seem natural and inevitable."—JoAnne G. Bernstein, Speculum—A Journal of Medieval Studies

Co-winner of the Eric Mitchell Prize for an outstanding book in the visual arts awarded by the Mitchell Foundation for the History of Art.
ISBN: 9780300071948
Publication Date: December 22, 1997
272 pages, 9 1/4 x 11 1/4
200 b/w + 60 color illus.