SAN ZANIPOLO, Equestrian Statue Of Colleoni

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English / USA Language: English / USA


Venice's most important Renaissance monument sits in a very prominent position on a high pedestal to the right of the church's façade: I'm talking about the bronze statue of the leader Bartolomeo Colleoni on horseback. The statue was designed in the late 1400s by the great Florentine sculptor Verrocchio, but it took 14 years before it was made and finally installed here in San Zanipolo's square. Interestingly, one of the sculptor's aides who had seen to the pedestal and the technical aspects of fusing the statue to it tried to take credit for the entire work.

You should know that the idea of ​​a bronze equestrian statue dated back to the times of the Roman emperors, but only returned to fashion in the second half of the fifteenth century: just a few decades before the creation of this masterpiece, Donatello had managed to create the statue of the leader Gattamelata in Padua. And while Verrocchio was working on Colleoni, in Milan Leonardo was also planning the equestrian statue of Francesco Sforza, although he didn't succeed.

Verrocchio had a painting and sculpture workshop in Florence and was distinguished for his ability to create metal works of great size; this specialty caused the Venetians to order the monument from him. If you're wondering who Bartolomeo Colleoni was, I'll tell you: he was a valiant warrior from Bergamo, and thanks to him the Republic of Venice was greatly enlarged in the Po Valley in the 1400s: the monument celebrates his victories and his loyalty to Venice. As you can see, the sculptor has depicted him fully armed and with a proud and victorious attitude that can be seen in his straight back and commander's baton held firmly in his right hand: the strong and frowning features in his face are borderline caricature, and it seems like he's sternly looking at the bars' umbrellas and tables that have invaded the battlefield.


FUN FACT: if you look at the base of the statue, you'll notice a strange design that depicts... you guessed it, three testicles. Legend says that this coat of arms alludes to the leader's rare anomaly.




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