Colleoni monument, Campo dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice

   Executed by Andrea del Verrocchio, this monument commemorates Bartolomeo Colleoni, commander of the Venetian army who left in his will 100,000 ducats to the Venetian Republic to finance the war against the Turks and to erect his monument on the Piazza San Marco in Venice. The Venetian government complied with his wishes, save for the fact that they erected the statue in the Campo dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, not the piazza. Loosely based on Donatello's Equestrian Monument of Gattamelata in Padua (c. 1445-1453; Piazza del Santo), Colleoni's shows the commander on his horse rendered as a more powerful and energetic figure than Donatello's. Colleoni presses his legs against the stirrups to raise himself higher, pushes his chest forward, and turns his head to the side—elements that have produced a dynamic composition and that grant the subject an aura of heroism. Colleoni's facial features are that of a lion, reflecting Verrocchio's interest in physiognomy, which was to influence his pupil Leonardo da Vinci who shared his interest. The work was not meant as a true portrait of the sitter but rather as a depiction of the ideal army commander.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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