Artibus et Historiae no. 84 (XLII)

2021, ISSN 0391-9064

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

SARAH BLAKE McHAM - The Genesis of the Tomb of Doge Andrea Vendramin: Verrocchio’s Unrealized Project (pp. 67–82)

Little attention has been paid to two drawings, one in the Victoria and Albert Museum and attributed with consensus to Andrea Verrocchio, the other in the Louvre and given to Lorenzo di Credi or another close associate of Verrocchio, which simplifies the first drawing. Both represent early stages in the planning of the Tomb of Doge Andrea Vendramin, as several Venetian emblems and the Vendramin’s family coat-of-arms indicate. They probably date from the mid- to late 1480s. Verrocchio’s project was never executed, and the tomb of the doge was undertaken instead by Tullio Lombardo in the early 1490s as a monumental marble architectural/sculptural ensemble (now in SS. Giovanni e Paolo) in a very different way than Verrocchio intended.

Verrocchio’s project relates to Florentine tombs by Antonio Rossellino and Desiderio da Settignano and adopts the wall console format favored in Venice. Otherwise, it is unprecedented in its most important element, the central vertical structure with multiple tiers of decoration, allegorical figures, and putti. This is the part of the project Verrocchio labored over as can be seen by the redrawn contours in lead point and the reinforcements in pen and ink. Art historians have puzzled over its sources and meanings, suggesting candelabra, covered tureens, and chrismatories. This author finds Passavant’s unelaborated, generic suggestion of a reliquary most convincing and argues that Verrocchio was trying to create a notional allusion to the Reliquary of the True Cross, which had been presented to Doge Andrea Vendramin’s grandfather, also named Andrea, on behalf of the Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista, and which provided the foundational identity of the Vendramin family for centuries.

Editor-in-chief Advisory Committee
Latest issue
All issues
Bibliotheca Artibus et Historiae
Our authors
Advertising in Artibus et Historiae
How to buy
Buy articles in PDF