Verrocchio’s Christ

13 March 2003 – 22 June 2003

13 March 2003 - 13 April 2003

One of the highlights of the Old Sculpture Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts is a terracotta statue of the Man of Sorrows attributed to the great Florentine master, Andrea del Verrocchio (Florence, 1436 – Venice, 1488). The sculpture comes from the collection of Ferenc Pulszky, who obtained it along with two angels in Florence in the 1860s. The statue was long hidden from the public; its display is made possible by its careful restoration recently completed by restorer Ildikó Boros. The exhibition of this piece creates an occasion to present a few other pieces of the famous Renaissance sculpture collection of the Museum, which are presently not on view. The objects are arranged around Verrocchio's masterpiece, placing it in its historical context.

Among terracotta and bronze statues, a famous altarpiece, originally painted in Verrocchio's workshop for the Florentine church of San Domenicodel Maglio, is on view. The influence of Verrocchio's inventive statuary is illustrated by such outstanding works as the statue of the Putto with a dolphin, made by a follower of the master, or by a terracotta bust of Christ on loan from the Victoria & AlbertMuseum in London. Standing nearby is Luca della Robbia's terracotta statuette of Christ and St. Thomas, made in 1463 as a competition piece for one of the niches on Orsanmichele. The commission was eventually given to Verrocchio.

The other part of the exhibit presents works with the same subject matter as Verrocchio's statue. Panel paintings, among them a work by Filippo Lippi (on loan from the ChristianMuseum in Esztergom) and masterpieces by Giovanni Santi, Jacopo Montagnana and Giovanni Martino Spanzotti, illustrate the varieties of this popular image type of the Italian Renaissance. The closest parallel to Verrocchio's statue is provided by a terracotta Man of Sorrows by Dello Delli, on loan from the Victoria & AlbertMuseum in London. The juxtaposition of these two masterpieces creates an unprecedented opportunity to examine how the genius of Verrocchio reworked an older iconographic and compositional type into a form that is his alone.

In addition, the show also presents the process and results of the restoration and the technical examination. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated, bilingual catalogue, which includes a report on the restoration as well as a study on Verrocchio's sculpture and its iconography (authors: Zsombor Jékely, Ildikó Boros, Vilmos Tátrai. Sponsors of the exhibition: AXA Biztosító Rt., Budapesti Tavaszi Fesztivál, Pesti Est, Szépművészeti Múzeum Baráti Köre.)

Curator of the exhibition: Zsombor Jékely