Equestrian Statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni

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Andrea del Verrocchio, Equestrian Statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni, 1480-1488
by SAI GONDI

Would you one day desire to be immortalized by an epic statue conveying your triumphant excellence? Well, tough luck. Bartolomeo Colleoni, however, was far more fortunate. Andrea del Verrocchio, an Italian artist, compressed Colleoni's dominance and strength into one powerful statue gazing over Venice. Verrocchio demonstrates immense skill in his fine details including the detailed pattern on the satchel and incredibly defined body of the horse. Why Colleoni? He reigned as the general of the Republic of Venice during the mid 15th century. Though the political state of the republic was generally peaceful, Colleoni feuded with Milan and seized rivaling towns and forts. After leaving behind money in 1475 following his death, the deceased general requested a statue to be erected in his honor, which was eventually completed by Verrocchio over a decade later. 

This statue stands out amongst others for its craftsmanship and the powerful presentation of Colleoni. His arm locks in a near battle position, mounting him in a sturdy combat position. Just imagine an army of Venetian soldiers trailing him as he marches. His face is worn and tired, symbolizing the his arduous life leading numerous military campaigns and spending a portion of his life in a prison in Milan. Though Colleoni was not a noble ruler, when I first saw this statue I thought of the quote by Machiavelli, "a prince must not mind incurring the charge of cruelty." The dominant, burly nature of it made me think of the cruel side of leaders. Respect is needed to be an effective leader.

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