The Bronze Workers - Antonio Del Pollajuolo 1429?-1498.
( Originally Published 1915 )
Antonio, the more able of the Pollajuolo brothers, was primarily a worker in bronze. His first work was in realistic animal decorations on the frame of the south doors of the Baptistery, and in reliefs for the silver altar front, now in the Cathedral Museum. His chief works are the bronze tombs of Sixtus IV and Innocent VIII in St. Peter's.
NOTES ON THE PICTURES.
No. 489. Hercules strangling Antteus.
Bronze figures of small size. The stories of Hercules were often repeated by the Pollajuoli, affording them the opportunity for their study of form. Hercules overcame Antaeus, the giant of Lybia, by lifting him off the earth, the source of his strength.
Study the bronze technique in the composition of the group; in the modeling of the figures; the representation of giant forms in diminutive size; the possibility of putting such a group into marble. Compare with the very small painting by Antonio, 187.
No. 490. Bust of a Young Warrior (terra cotta).
Reymond says of this, " it seems to epitomize an entire epoch." Compare the repoussé work upon the cuirass with that on the armor of Augustus, A. 418.
Study the modeling, the treatment of the hair. Interpret the spirit and individuality of the youth.
Andrea del Verocchio. 1435–1488.
Cruttwell, Verocchio. Perkins, 131-136. Powers, M. M. A., 215-219. Reymond, III, 199-216. Vasari, II, 237-255. Tonics FOR FURTHER RESEARCH.
Equestrian statues, classic and modern. Balcarres, Evolution, 67–72.
The career of the condottiere. Symonds, Age of the Despots, 112, 156–162; Burckhardt, ch. 3.
NOTES ON THE PICTURES.
No. 491. Death of Francesca Tornabuoni.
Marble relief made for the wife of Giovanni Tornabuoni, who died in childbirth in Rome. The tomb was to be erected in S. Maria sopra Minerva. It is questioned whether this was done.
Read the story as told in the two scenes. Study the composition, the treatment of form and draperies, the exaggerated emotion. Notice that Ghiberti's pictorial perspective has quite disappeared.
No. 492. David.
Bronze, height about 4 feet. An early work executed for the Medicean villa at Careggi. In 1476 it was sold to the Signory and placed in the Palazzo Vecchio. Although the figure is carefully finished on the back, it was intended to be seen only from in front. Miss Cruttwell suggests that it stood as guardian at a doorway, and on a pedestal 5 feet high.
Compare with the bronze David by Donatello, 437. Note the goldsmith's craft in the chiseling of the ornaments and bands, still showing some of the original gilding. Compare the face with those of the Baptism, 191; with the Leonardo type.
No. 494. Incredulity of Thomas.
Or San Michele, Florence.
Bronze figures over life size, commissioned by the Tribunal of the Guilds in 1463, and completed in 1483. The beautiful niche, made by Donatello (or Michelozzo) in 1423, formerly held Donatello's statue of St. Louis of Toulouse, now in S. Croce.
Notice Verocchio's skill in arranging the two figures in the niche designed for one. Compare with Verocchio's Christ in 191. Compare his handling of draperies with Ghiberti's in St. Stephen, 425; with Donatello's in St. Mark, 433, and King David, 438.
The niche merits careful attention both in its structure and its decoration.
No. 495. Madonna and Child.
Bas-relief in marble, one of the numerous Madonnas attributed and denied to Verocchio; perhaps by a pupil.
The cherub's head used as a clasp suggests the metal worker. The folds of the drapery have to a lesser degree the angles seen in 494. The child has none of the lightness or individuality of the putto of the fountain, 496. The Madonna has great beauty and refinement. Study the modeling, the flattening of the planes, the use of low relief. Compare with 476, 478, 481.
No. 496. Boy and Dolphin.
Palazzo Vecchio, Florence.
Ordered by Lorenzo de' Medici for a fountain at the Villa Careggi. About the middle of the sixteenth century it was removed to its present position in the court of the Palazzo Vecchio.
The pressure of the child's hands upon the fish was to cause the water to spout from its mouth. The figure is designed to be seen from all sides.
Study the light poise of the figure, yet its balance; the appropriateness of the theme; the interpretation of childhood. Compare with Donatello, and with the della Robbia.
No. 493. Equestrian Statue of Bartolommeo Colleoni.
Campo SS. Giovanni e Paolo, Venice.
Vellano, Leopardi, and Verocchio were commissioned in 1479 to submit models for a statue to Colleoni. The one presented by Verocchio in 1481 was accepted. The clay model was ready for casting at Verocchio's death in 1488, and the work was completed in 1496 by Leopardi, who designed the pedestal.
Colleoni, commander-in-chief of the Venetian forces, bequeathed a large portion of his wealth to the Republic on condition that they should erect an equestrian monument to him in the Piazza of S. Marco, a condition that was compromised by placing it in front of the Scuola di S. Marco.
Verocchio has left us the finest equestrian statue of history, past or present. Although in the commission the model of the horse was the matter of concern, the rider here dominates his steed, which in turn is a war horse quite in contrast to Donatello's Gattemalata, 444. Compare the two. Note the fine: Arab head on the great European stallion. Consider the necessity for a horse heavy enough to carry a warrior in full armor. Cf. Marcus Aurelius, A 428. Compare with modern equestrian statues, with those of Victor Emmanuel and Garibaldi in Italy, with Frederick the Great and Emperor William in Berlin, with those of Washington in this country, with Sheridan by Borglum, and with Sherman by St. Gaudens.