LEOPARDI, Alessandro
(active 1482-1522 in Venice)

Equestrian Statue of Colleoni

Gilded bronze, height 395 cm (without base)
Campo di Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice

In 1479 the Venetian authorities had decided to erect a monument to the mercenary Bartolomeo Colleoni of Bergamo who had died in 1475, leaving funds for an equestrian in his honour. He naively stipulated that it be sited in Piazza S. Marco, too prominent a place for this potentially dangerous symbol of power. Instead the authorities decided cleverly to put it before the remote Scuola di S. Marco. A competition was held and Verrocchio sent a life-size wax model of the horse in 1483. It was unfinished at his death in 1488, although he had completed the figure and horse in clay. In his will, he enjoined his pupil Lorenzo di Credi to finish it, but this responsibility was transferred in 1490 to the Venetian bronze caster Alessandro Leopardi (who designed the base and signed on the horse's girth).

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