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Verrocchio's Putto and Medici Love

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by Jack Freiberg
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Verrocchio's Putto and Medici Love by Jack Freiberg

Visitors to Florence's Palazzo Vecchio come face to face with Andrea del Verrocchio's bronze sculpture of a Putto balancing upon a half sphere while embracing a vigorous, squirming dolphin, the whole set atop the handsome porphyry fountain at the center of the main courtyard (Figs. 1, 2). Drawing close we delight in the infant's pouchy flesh and surprisingly nuanced expression, half-lidded eyes, puffed cheeks, the trace of a smile. The dolphin mirrors the Putto's diminutive size and movement, twisting as it rises and emitting a thin stream of water that arches high before splashing into the basin. Giorgio Vasari pronounced the figure "veramente maraviglioso," and ever since observers have been captivated by the innovative, multi-directional pose that was destined to have a rich afterlife in Florentine sculpture. Perhaps owing to its small size (67 cm), playful aspect, and use as a fountain ornament, Verrocchio's bronze has largely escaped the scrutiny devoted to other examples of the sculptor's work and to the Palazzo Vecchio decoration. This paper examines the Putto in its rich philosophical and historical context, finding that its lighthearted tone is an integral part of the serious statement it makes concerning the exercise of political power. There could be no better context to explore this idea than in a volume of essays honoring Marilyn Aronberg Lavin. The Renaissance use of spiritual themes to promote ideological positions was a lesson that I learned early on from her example and have never forgotten... [This is a chapter excerpted from "Medieval Renaissance Baroque: A Cat's Cradle for Marilyn Aronberg Lavin," edited by David A. Levine and Jack Freiberg (Italica Press, New York, 2010).]

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Ebook Details
Size: 545 KB
Publisher: Italica Press, Inc.
Date published:  Jan 2010
ISBN: 9781599101781 (DRM-PDF)

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This product is listed in the following categories:

Nonfiction > Philosophy > History & Surveys > Modern
Nonfiction > History > Renaissance
Nonfiction > Art > History > Renaissance

This author has products in the following categories:

Nonfiction > Philosophy > History & Surveys > Modern
Nonfiction > History > Renaissance
Nonfiction > Art > History > Renaissance
Nonfiction > History > Europe

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03/28/2017
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