Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Renaissance Humanism -- And Verrocchio Makes Three

Andrea del Verrocchio (1435-1488), Christ and St. Thomas (1466-1483), Orsanmichele, Florence.

Currently on display at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Verrocchio’s greatest masterpiece was commissioned in 1466 by the Mercanzia, a supervisory organization that regulated the Florentine guilds. After a long somewhat contentious gestation, the bronze group consisting of two interlocking figures, Christ and Saint Thomas, was finally unveiled to much acclaim in 1483. Looking back to the Quattro Santi Coronati for the idea of a sculptural group, Verrocchio’s statues break free of their niche with Saint Thomas on the lower outside ledge pushing off his right foot, caught in mid-motion as he moves forward to touch Christ’s wound. For the first time, at Orsanmichele, there was real narrative and dramatic tension.

Source: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.


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