Hi guys! This week I want to talk about an artist called Andrea del Verrocchio and an artwork of his. Verrocchio was born under the long name Andrea di Michele di Francesco de’ Cioni, and he was a prolific artist during the Italian Renaissance. Verrocchio is one of the greatest Florentine artist, and many of his artworks are spread throughout Florence even to this day. He was considered to be a master, during his time, therefore, he had the chance to train artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Pietro Perugino, and Lorenzeo di Credi (National Gallery).
The painting I would like to talk about is called the Virgin and Child with Two Angels created in 1476-8. This painting was done in the workshop of Verrocchio with the help of his assistant, Lorenzo di Credi.
This painting is a common theme seen throughout the Italian Renaissance that shows Mary and baby Christ surrounded by angels. These figures are placed in front of a beautiful landscape, also another attribute of Renaissance painting. It is not mentioned anywhere what the landscape is specifically representing; however, it may be a reference either to an exact time and place Mary and Christ visited during their lives, or it could be a reference to a land of Paradise, which is also appreciate for this subject matter. As a final note, it could also be a reference to somewhere in Italy, which was common along other artworks created with this subject matter.
Mary is sitting up straight and wearing an extravagant blue cloak, with reference to a star on her right arm. Underneath the cloak, she has a reddish-pink dress on. This is typical attire that Renaissance artists placed on Mary in paintings. On her lap is baby Christ, who seems to be placing his fingers in his mouth. His is represented as a newborn baby who is slightly chubby, which makes him more realistic and adorable within the painting. Christ is staring at his mother as Mary is praying and looking at Christ.
The angel on the right is holding onto Christ and staring out towards the viewer. This is most likely a gesture towards the viewer to pay attention to Mary and Christ and their importance; it can also be a way of Verrocchio inviting the viewer in by using Alberti’s window technique. The angel on our left is holding a small flower bouquet of lilies, very typically used in paintings of Mary to signify her purity; the angel’s other hand is slightly placed on his chest. This angel is also staring up at Mary. The way this angel is positioned looks almost like a priest or someone who is in the notion of praising.
I always enjoy looking at these types of paintings because it shows the unique qualities that different artists had with such a common subject matter in the Renaissance. I also really like these types of artworks because they are important and common during the Renaissance; therefore, these art subjects are often created very beautifully because of their value and importance.
Feature Image from artandobject.com