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Statue of Colleoni

Statue of Colleoni (38)

If you approach the Campo Santi Giovanni e Paoli to see the Scuola Grande di San Marco, you will have the chance of appreciating what has been classified as one of the most beautiful equestrian statues in the world. Because just here, in the middle of the square, you will come across a key statue of 15th-century Venice: the one representing the condottiere, Bartolomeo Colleoni.

Colleoni is an outstanding figure in the history of the city. This military officer and politician from Bergamo was for a time the commanding officer of the troops of the Venetian army. Proud of his military victories, in his will he stated that he wanted a statue to be built in his honour in the Piazza San Marco. In exchange, he would leave all his assets to the Republic’s coffers.

However, the Senate thought that a monument in San Marco would break with tradition. After long deliberations, it was considered that the most appropriate thing to do would be to place it where it stands today. The statue, which was unveiled in 1496, that is, 21 years after the death of Colleoni, is the work of the Florentine sculptor Andrea del Verrochio. It was later cast in bronze by Alessandro Leopardi, who was also entrusted to add the pedestal. 

The figure, which, counting the pedestal, represents a mass of about 12 metres height, is a clear example of military sculpture of the Quattrocento. It is really quite imposing and communicates a startling sensation of power and dynamism to whoever observes it. The effigy of Colleoni, praised for the refined technique with which it was modelled, has often been placed on a par with the work of Donatello.

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