Erich Lessing

Second only to Donatello among the Italian sculptors of the Renaissance, Andrea del Verrocchio (1436-1488) was commissioned by the Venetian government in 1483 to create this commemorative statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni, an illustrious condottiere, or professional soldier, who had served Venice well. Verrocchio had finished a clay model of the statue at the time of his death, so it was left to his students to complete the bronze sculpture. Unlike the poses of horse and rider in Donatello’s Gattamelata and the ancient Marcus Aurelius statue, Verrocchio’s warrior stands upright in his stirrups, his horse’s head vigorously turned to one side. The statue was erected in the piazza in front of Venice’s Church of Saints John and Paul in 1496.