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Poised tiptoe on a globe, this chubby cherub seems to pirouette, inviting interest from all angles. His complex movement in space is remarkable for a date so early in the Renaissance. Also remarkable is that his projecting limbs have survived for more than five hundred years. This cupid is indeed a rarity—a model in unfired clay.

It is possible that Putto Poised on a Globe served as a model for a bronze fountain figure. Verrocchio made a similar cupid fountain for Florence's Medici family. The National Gallery's boy has puffed out cheeks, pursed lips, and an outstretched arm, suggesting he may have directed a stream of water to a toy pinwheel or similar object. It is also possible that the entire piece rotated; a contemporary of Verrocchio's described a fountain in which the artist used water to spin a statue.

Verrocchio was Florence's leading sculptor in the second half of the fifteenth century. Versatile and inventive, he was also a painter and goldsmith.


Louis-Charles Timbal [1821-1880], Paris; Gustave Dreyfus [1837-1914], Paris; his estate; purchased 1930 with the entire Dreyfus collection by (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris);[1] purchased 15 December 1936 by The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh;[2] gift 1937 to NGA.

Exhibition History

Sculpture and Medals of the Renaissance from the Dreyfus Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1932.
Verrocchio's David Restored: A Renaissance Bronze from the National Museum of the Bargello, Florence, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2004, not in cat., not shown at two earlier venues in Florence and Atlanta.
Verrocchio. Sculptor and Painter of Renaissance Florence. National Gallery of Art, 2019-2020, no. 18, repro.


Éphrussi, Charles. “Appendice à l’étude sur les dessin de maîtres.” Gazette des Beaux-Arts, ser. 2, XX (1879): 311.
Bode, Wilhelm von. “Die italienischen Skulpturen der Renaissance in der Kőniglichen Museen, II, Bildwerke des Andrea del Verroccchio.” Jahrbuch der Kőniglich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen III (1882): 99-100.
Mackowsky, Hans. Verrocchio. Bielefeld and Leipzig, 1901: 38, fig. 15.
Venturi, Adolfo. Storia dell'arte Italiana. 11 vols. Milan, 1901-1940: 6(1908): 715.
Cruttwell, Maud. Verrocchio. London, 1904: 70, repro. plate XIII.
Reymond, Marcel. Verrocchio. Paris, 1906: 50, n. 1.
Dussler, Luitpold. "Verrocchio, Andrea del." In Thieme-Becker. 37 vols. Leipzig, 1907-1950: 34(1939):294.
Vitry, Paul. "La collection de M. Gustave Dreyfus: I. - La Sculpture." Les Arts 72 (December 1907): repro. 16.
Schubring, Paul. Die Italienische Plastik des Quattrocento. Berlin, c. 1919: 133.
Venturi, Adolfo. “Leonardiana III.” L’Arte 28 (1925): 146-147.
Mayer, August L. "Die Sammlung Gustave Dreyfus." Pantheon 7 (January 1931):18, repro.
Wiles, Bertha Harris. The Sculptures of the Florentine Sculptors and Their Followers from Donatello to Bernini. Cambridge, Mass., 1933: 9, repro. fig. 16.
Bertini, Aldo. “L’arte del Verrocchio.” L’Arte 38 (November 1935): 447-448.
Cortissoz, Royal. An Introduction to the Mellon Collection. Boston, 1937: repro. 18.
Planiscig, Leo. Andrea del Verrocchio. Vienna, 1941: 35, 52, repro. pl. 55, 56.
Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 237-238, A-17.
Book of Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 253, repro. 237.
Swarzenski, Georg. "Some Aspects of Italian Quattrocento Sculpture in the National Gallery." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 6th series, 24 (November 1943): 298.
Duveen Brothers, Inc. Duveen Sculpture in Public Collections of America: A Catalog Raisonné with illustrations of Italian Renaissance Sculptures by the Great Masters which have passed through the House of Duveen. New York, 1944: figs. 143-144.
Galassi, Guiseppe. La scultura fiorentina del quattrocento. Milan, 1949: 217, repro. pl. 288.
Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958): 159, repro.
Seymour, Charles. Masterpieces of Sculpture from the National Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1949: 178-179, note 34, repro. 111-112.
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Comparisons in Art: A Companion to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. London, 1957: 103, repro.
Pope-Hennessy, John. Italian Renaissance Sculpture. London, 1958: 295-6.
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 173.
Balogh, Jolán. "Studi sulla collezione di sculture del museo di belle arti di Budapest. VI." Acta Historiae Artium Academiae Scientarum Hungaricae XII fasciculi 3-4 (1966): 290, fig. 113.
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 152, repro.
Heil, Walter. "A Marble Putto." Pantheon XXVII, n. 4 (July-August 1969): 279, fig. 13.
Passavant, Günter. Verrocchio. Sculptures, Paintings and Drawings. Complete Edition. Translated from the German MS by Katherine Watson. London, 1969: 40-41, 196-97, cat. A3, fig. 56, fig. 57.
Pope-Hennessy, John. "The 'aemulus" of Donatello." Times Literary Supplement (13 November 1969).
Seymour, Charles. The Sculpture of Verrocchio. Greenwich, CT, 1971: 124, 167-68, cat. 16, fig. 160, fig. 161.
Covi, Dario. "Review of G. Passavant, Verrocchio, translated by Katherine Watson, 1969." Art Bulletin 54, n. 1 (March 1972): 91.
Dussler, Luitpold. "Charles Seymour, Jr.: the Sculpture of Verrocchio." Pantheon 30 (November 1972): 518.
Finley, David Edward. A Standard of Excellence: Andrew W. Mellon Founds the National Gallery of Art at Washington. Washington, 1973: 42.
Passavant, Günter. "The sculpture of Verrocchio. By Charles Seymour." Burlington Magazine CXVII (January 1975): 55-56.
Donatello e il primo Rinascimento nei calchi della Gipsoteca. Exh. cat. Gipsoteca dell'Istituto Statale d'Arte, Florence, 1985: cat. 241.
Passavant, Gunter. "Überlegungen zur Rotationsmechanik von Verrocchios Delphinputto." Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz XXXIII Band, Heft 1 (1989): 108, fig. 5.

Parronchi, Alessandro. "Il Putto di Washington." In Verrocchio and Late Quattrocento Italian Sculpture. Steven Bule, Alan Phipps Darr, and Fiorella Superbi Gioffredi. eds. (Acts of two conferences commemorating the fifth centenary of Verrocchio’s death. I. April 1988 at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; II. June 1989 at the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno and the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti, Florence). Florence, 1992: 153-156.
Stapleford, Richard. The Age of Lorenzo de' Medici: Patronage and the Arts in Renaissance Florence. A Walking Tour of Italian Painting and Sculpture in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1992: 10, repro.
Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1994: 233, repro.
Grasselli, Margaret Morgan, ed. The Touch of the Artist. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1995: cat. 9e, fig. 1.
Bambach, Goldner, Cecchi et. al 1997. The Drawings of Filippino Lippi and His Circle. Exh. cat. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997: 278, 280.
Butterfield, Andrew. The Sculptures of Andrea del Verrocchio. New Haven and London, 1997: 135, 240, no. 30, pl. 177.
Butterfield, Andrew, and David Franklin. "A documented episode in the history of renaissance 'terracruda' sculpture." The Burlington Magazine 140, n. 1149 (December 1998): 821, 822, fig. 49.
Fenton, James. "Verrocchio: The New Cicerone." In Leonardo's Nephew: Essays on Art and Artists. New York, 1998: 56, fig. 18.
Brandt, Kathleen Weil-Garris. Leonardo e la scultura. Florence, 1999: 19-20 n. 33.
Rubin, Patricia Lee, and Alison Wright. Renaissance Florence: The Art of the 1470s. New Haven, 1999: 208.
Serros, Richard. "The Verrocchio Workshop: Techniques, Production, and Influences." Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1999: 377-78, 486 [B36] fig. VII.63.
Vogel, Carol. "Another Trip for 'David'." The New York Times (July 18, 2003).
Windt, Franziska. Andrea del Verrocchio und Leonardo da Vinci: Zusammenarbeit in Skulptur und Malerei. Münster, 2003: 145-149, fig. 85, fig. 86.
Covi, Dario. Andrea del Verrocchio, Life and Work. Florence, 2005: 167-170, 225-226 n. 76, figs. 167, 168.
Pócs, Dániel. “White marble sculptures from the Buda Castle: Reconsidering some facts about an antique statue and a fountain by Verrocchio.” In Italy & Hungary. Humanism and Art in the Early Renaissance. Proceedings of an international conference held at the Villa I Tatti, Florence, June 6-8, 2007. Farbaky, Peter and Louis A. Waldman, eds. Villa I Tatti, Florence and Milan, 2011: 553-608, esp. 564-5.

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