Florentine Andrea del Verrocchio (1435–88) was born Andrea di Michele di Francesco de' Cioni but is always known by his nickname, 'True Eye' (vero occhio). A favourite of the Medici, he was a key figure in the development of Renaissance art, the master of Leonardo da Vinci, Lorenzo di Credi and Perugino.
Little is known of his early life. His father was a brick maker who became a tax collector, and Verrochio who never married later supported his siblings and their children. He trained as a goldsmith but was also an exceptional sculptor who worked in bronze and spent his life trying to outdo Donatello. One of his earliest works in Florence is the David, commissioned by Piero de' Medici, father of Lorenzo il Magnifico (Verrocchio is said to have used his beautiful young student Leonardo as a model) in the Bargello. Here, at least Donatello's saucier version steals the limelight. But perhaps not for the Medici; Verrochio was chosen over Donatello to make Cosimo il Vecchio's funerary monument in San Lorenzo.
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