Putto with a Dolphin

Statuette
1465 (sculpted), ca. 1888 (cast)
Putto with a Dolphin thumbnail 1
Putto with a Dolphin thumbnail 2
+7
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Cast Courts, Room 46b, The Weston Cast Court
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The original sculpture was made for a fountain for the Medici Villa at Careggi by Andrea del Verocchio in 1465. Vasari (1568) records that Grand Duke Cosimo I de'Medici of Tuscany (1519-74) brought this figure to Florence and had it set up on a new fountain in the first courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio. The original fountain included three bronze heads and four marble lion heads, while the replacement, designed by Vasari, was of porphyry and marble. In 1959, the Putto with a Fish was replaced by a bronze copy, and is now displayed inside the Palazzo Vecchio.


The cast is displayed in one of the two magnificent Cast Courts at the V&A. Since they were first opened in 1873, these galleries have displayed reproductions of some of the most significant monuments of medieval and Renaissance Europe. In these galleries one can view plaster casts of sculptures from Renaissance Italy, notably some of the masterpieces produced by Donatello, Luca della Robbia and Michelangelo.
The sculptures are faithful copies of the originals. They were made in the 19th century, when the vogue for replicated works of art was at its height. Museum visitors at that time generally had little opportunity to travel abroad, and illustrated art books were costly. These superb casts could afford people a rare glimpse of the original sculptures, even if they could not visit Florence or Rome. Artists and designers then and now could likewise sketch and learn from them. The painted surfaces of these reproductions often mirror the original stone or bronze, and the casts seem convincingly monumental. But they are made of plaster, a relatively fragile material.



object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitlePutto with a Dolphin (generic title)
Materials and Techniques
Plaster cast, painted plaster.
Brief Description
Plaster cast, painted plaster, Putto with a dolphin, of a bronze original at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, by Andrea del Verrocchio, (Florence), Italy, 1465, cast probably Berlin, Germany, ca. 1888
Physical Description
A bronze Putto with dolphin, standing on his left leg.



Dimensions
  • Height: 79.5cm
  • Width: 46cm
Gallery Label
Verrocchio’s original bronze sculpture was part of a fountain commissioned by the Medici family in Florence. It was admired in its time for its highly original sense of movement, which meant the figure could be enjoyed from any viewpoint. This painted plaster reproduction came to the V&A in the late 19th century as part of an exchange of casts between European museums.(2014)
Object history
Acquired in exchange with the Berlin Museum in 1888 for £2 (40 marks).
Historical context
Made for a fountain for the Medici villa at Careggi. Vasari (1568) records that Grand Duke Cosimo I de'Medici of Tuscany (1519-74) brought this figure to Florence and had it set up on a new fountain in the first courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio. The original fountain included three bronze heads and four marble lion heads, while the replacement, designed by Vasari, was of porphyry and marble. In 1959, the Putto with a Fish was replaced by a bronze copy, and is now displayed inside the Palazzo Vecchio.
Subjects depicted
Summary
The original sculpture was made for a fountain for the Medici Villa at Careggi by Andrea del Verocchio in 1465. Vasari (1568) records that Grand Duke Cosimo I de'Medici of Tuscany (1519-74) brought this figure to Florence and had it set up on a new fountain in the first courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio. The original fountain included three bronze heads and four marble lion heads, while the replacement, designed by Vasari, was of porphyry and marble. In 1959, the Putto with a Fish was replaced by a bronze copy, and is now displayed inside the Palazzo Vecchio.





The cast is displayed in one of the two magnificent Cast Courts at the V&A. Since they were first opened in 1873, these galleries have displayed reproductions of some of the most significant monuments of medieval and Renaissance Europe. In these galleries one can view plaster casts of sculptures from Renaissance Italy, notably some of the masterpieces produced by Donatello, Luca della Robbia and Michelangelo.

The sculptures are faithful copies of the originals. They were made in the 19th century, when the vogue for replicated works of art was at its height. Museum visitors at that time generally had little opportunity to travel abroad, and illustrated art books were costly. These superb casts could afford people a rare glimpse of the original sculptures, even if they could not visit Florence or Rome. Artists and designers then and now could likewise sketch and learn from them. The painted surfaces of these reproductions often mirror the original stone or bronze, and the casts seem convincingly monumental. But they are made of plaster, a relatively fragile material.



Collection
Accession Number
REPRO.1888-519

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record createdSeptember 26, 2006
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