World Monuments Fund Restores Venice’s Famed/Beloved Equestrian Statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni
The World Monuments Fund (WMF) has completed its three-year restoration of the equestrian statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni, one of Italy’s most celebrated Renaissance sculptures, after nearly a century of exposure to the elements and airborne pollutants generated by industrial development. Massimo Cacciari, the mayor of Venice, will preside at the celebratory unveiling in Venice’s Campo San Giovanni e Paolo on June 23, 2006, together with Bertrand du Vignaud, president of WMF in Europe, and Donatella Asta, WMF’s representative in Venice for the Colleoni project, along with senior representatives of the Italian Ministry of Culture.
The late fifteenth-century statue (1488-1496), which was sculpted by Andrea del Verocchio and cast by Alessandro Leopardi after Verocchio’s death, is renowned for its innovative representation of natural movement. Riding high above Venice’s Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, adjacent to the Grande Scuola San Marco, the equestrian portrait of Colleoni, together with Donatello’s Gattamelata (1447–53) in Padua, represents the rediscovery during the Renaissance of monumental equestrian bronzes, inspired by Roman antecedents The casting of Colleoni fostered a revival of the lost art of bronze casting on a grand scale, a technology that swept through Europe by the end of the 17th century.