VERROCCHIO, Andrea del
(b. 1435, Firenze, d. 1488, Venezia)
The Baptism of Christ (detail by Leonardo da Vinci)1472-75
Tempera and oil on panel
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
In the mid-16th century, historian, Giorgio Vasari narrates that for the execution of the painting, Andrea del Verrocchio was helped by a young pupil, Leonardo, who painted the figure of the angel on the left with such skill that he upset the older Verrocchio. Current studies are orientated towards considering Leonardo's interventions to be more extensive, including the charming riparian landscape, golden light and the figure of Christ.
The gentle modelling of the left angel's head and the fact that the paint at this point contains oil supports the general attribution of this section to Leonardo. The painting was probably produced for the church of San Salvi in Florence and was mentioned as early as 1510 by Albertini, who stated that Leonardo painted the angel's head. A drawing of the angel's head is kept in Turin.