This drawing is a remarkable example of the Renaissance preoccupation with ideal proportions, as seen in the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, Verrocchio’s most famous pupil. Verrocchio began this drawing by making a semi-stylized outline of the subject. He then further schematized the body by dividing it up and inscribing it with detailed measurements. The precision of the measurements supports the idea that this study was related to the bronze equestrian statue for Bartolomeo Colleoni— a commission Verrocchio won in a competition announced by the Republic of Venice in 1479 and was awarded in 1483.
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Title:Measured Drawing of a Horse Facing Left (recto)
Artist:Andrea del Verrocchio (Italian, Florence 1435–1488 Venice)
Medium:Pen and dark brown ink, over traces of black chalk
Dimensions:Overall: 9 13/16 x 11 11/16 in. (24.9 x 29.7 cm) maximum
Credit Line:Frederick C. Hewitt Fund, 1917
Inscription: Inscribed by the artist in pen and the same brown ink as the drawing with measurements, starting at upper left, from ear to chest. Transcription by Carmen C. Bambach. ("T" = Testa): "u[na] T 5/16 1/2 / dal osso del orechio insino al petto una testa e cinque sedecimi e mezo"; from ear to withers, "u[na] T 3 1/6 1/2 / dal orechio al guidalescho un testa e tre sedecimi ½"; from chest to withers, "una T e 1/2 sedecimo / dal petto al guidalescho una testa e mezo sedecimo"; from chest to front side of upper leg, "sei 1 /6 1/2 / dal petto alacchomincio dela ghanba se sedecimi"; from chest to back side of upper leg, "10 sedecimi e nezo [sic: mezzo]/ dal petto al chomincio de la ghanba dieci sedecimi"; from beginning of front leg to withers, "una T e dua 1 /6 / dal chomincio dela chanba insino al guidalescho una testa e dua sedecimi"; at front left hoof, "tre sedecimi 1/2 / 3 1/6 ½"; from front fetlock to knee, "nove sedecimi / da questo nodello al ginochio 9 16"; from front left knee to belly, "undici 16 1/2 / dal ginochio al chomincamento / undici parti e mezo"; from withers to top of the rump, "una T e 11 1/6 / dal gudalesch a p[r]incipia dela groppa una testa e undici sede-cimi"; from chest to rump, "dua T e 10 1/6 / dal petto alla groppa dua teste e dieci sedecimi"; from top of front leg bone to top of back leg bone, "una T e 4 1/6 / dal ginocho al chomincio dela choscia una testa e quaettro 1 6"; across front thickness of belly, "una T 5 1/6 1/2 / grosso una testa [cancelled: e mez] e cinque 1/6"; from top of back leg to the rump, "undici 1/6 / da qu al osso dela gropa undici 1 /6"; from rump (or crupper) to tail, "nove 16 / dal gropa alla choda nove 16"; from lower rump to top of tail, "14 16 1/2 / da qui alla choda di sop[r]a 14 1/6 e ½"; from top of haunch bone to knee, "u[na] T e 10 1/6 / da questo o dela groppa insino al gnochio una testa e dieci sedecimi"; from top of back leg to knee of back leg, "da questo o insino al ginochio 13 1/6 ½"; from rear knee to lower rump, "otto sedecimi / dal ginochio a questo 8"; from rear fetlock to above the knee, "dodici 16 / da questa guntura al disop[r]a del ginochio dodici 1/6 ." The recto is annotated by another hand, apparently by Giorgio Vasari, in pen and a darker brown ink on lower left: "And: Verrocchio."
Giorgio Vasari (Italian); (?) Jonathan Richardson Sr. (British); possibly acquired by Thomas Herbert, 8th Earl of Pembroke (British); Henry Herbert, 10th Earl of Pembroke (British), by 1772 (was in Pembroke volume XU.2., dated 24 Nov. 1772); by descent to Reginald Herbert, 15th Earl of Pembroke (British); Pembroke sale, Sotheby's, London, July 5–6, 9–10, 1917, no. 358 (as Verrocchio)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," May 6–July 28, 1996.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Leonardo da Vinci: Master Draftsman," January 22–March 30, 2003.
Civiche Raccolte, Castello Sforzesco, Milan. "Leonardo: dagli studi proporzionali al Trattato della Pittura," December 5, 2007–March 2, 2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," November 19, 2013–February 10, 2014.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston. "Donatello, Michelangelo, Cellini: Sculptors' Drawings from Renaissance Italy," October 8, 2014–January 19, 2015.
Florence. Palazzo Strozzi. "Verrocchio: Master of Leonardo," March 9–July 14, 2019.
Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Verrocchio: Sculptor and Painter of Renaissance Florence," September 15, 2019–January 12, 2020.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Innocence and Experience: Selections from the Department of Drawings and Prints," February 9, 2023–May 16, 2023.
Sandford Arthur Strong Reproductions in Facsimile of Drawings by the Old Masters in the Collection of the Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery at Wilton House. London, 1900, part 6, no. 58 (as Attributed to Verrocchio).
Bernard Berenson The Drawings of the Florentine Painters: Classified, Criticised and Studied as Documents in the History and Appreciation of the Tuscan Art, with a Copious Catalogue Raisonné. 2 vols., London, 1903, vol. 2, p. 136, no.1951A ( School of Antonio del Pollaiuolo), vol. 2, p. 136.
Bryson Burroughs "Drawings from the Pembroke Collection." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 14, no. 6, New York, June 1919, p. 137 (as Antonio del Pollaiuolo).
Osvald Sirén Léonard de Vinci: L'artiste et l'homme: Edition entièrement refondue et mis à jour.. 3 vols., Paris and Brussels, 1928, vol. 2, pl. 81B (as Leonardo da Vinci), ill.
Wilhelm Suida Leonardo und sein Kreis. Munich, 1929, pp. 64, 65.
Wilhelm Reinhold Valentiner "Verrocchio's Lost Candlestick" Burlington Magazine. vol. 62, no. 362, 1933, p. 232 (as Verrocchio).
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Bernard Berenson The Drawings of the Florentine Painters. 3 vols., amplified edition. Chicago, 1938, p. 271, no. 1947B (as School of Antonio Pollaiuolo).
Bernhard Degenhart "Unbekannte Zeichnungen Francescos di Giorgio." in Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte. vol. 8, nos. 3-4, 1939, fig. no. fig. 57, pp. 140 - 141, ill.
Walter Mehring European Drawings from the Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Portfolio of Collotype Reproductions [Vol. 1: Italian Drawings; Vol. 2: Flemish, Dutch, German, Spanish, French, and British drawings; Vol. 3: "New Series": Italian, Flemish, Dutch, German, Spanish, French, and British drawings]. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 3 vols., New York, 1942–44, cat. no. 4 (vol.1), fig. no. 4, ill.
"Some Italian Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum." Connoisseur. vol. 110, New York, January 1943, p. 151.
Bernard Berenson, Luisa Vertova I disegni dei pittori fiorentini. 3 vols., Revised and enlarged. Milan, 1961, p. 453, no. 1947B.
Licia Ragghianti Collobi Il libro de' disegni del Vasari. 2 vols., Florence, 1974, vol. 1, p. 82, vol. 2, fig 230, ill.
Enrichetta Beltrame Quattrocchi Disegni Toscani e umbri del primo rinascimento dalle collezioni del Gabinetto Nazionale delle Stampe. Exh. cat., Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica, Villa alla Farnesina alla Lungara. Rome, 1979, pp. 25, 26, under no. 7, fig. 10bis (as Verrocchio), ill.
The Horses of San Marco. [Supplementary exhibition catalogue, MMA]. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1980, no. 82 (as Follower of Verrocchio).
I Cavalli di San Marco. Exh. cat. Milan, Palazzo Reale. Palazzo Reale, Comune di Milano, Milan, 1981, no. 47 (as Follower of Verrocchio).
Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 15th and 16th Century Italian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1982, pp. 264-66, no. 270 (as Verrocchio?), ill.
Gustina Scaglia "Leonardo's Non-inverted Writing and Verrocchio's Measured Drawing of a Horse." Art Bulletin. vol. 64, no. 1, 1982, pp. 32-44, figs. 7-8 (as Verrocchio).
Jean K. Cadogan "Verrocchio's Drawings Reconsidered." Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte. vol. 46, Berlin, 1983, pp. 388-89, no. 55.
Dario A. Covi "Verrocchio and Venice." Art Bulletin. vol. 65, New York, 1983, p. 262, no. 69.
Carlo Pedretti, Jane Roberts Leonardo's Horses: Studies of Horses and Other Animals by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. Exh. cat., Florence, Palazzo Vecchio; Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art; Houston, The Museum of Fine Arts; San Francisco, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Florence and New York, 1984-1986, pp. 38-39, under no. 8.
Carlo Pedretti, Jane Roberts Leonardo da Vinci, Drawings of Horses and other Animals from the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. Exh. cat., Washington, National Gallery of Art (February 24 - June 9, 1985), Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, (June 22 - October 13, 1985), The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (November 9 - 23 February 23, 1986). American edition. New York, 1984, pp. 38-39, under no. 8.
The Drawings and Miscellaneous Papers of Leonardo da Vinci in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle. Vol. 2: Horses and Other Animals. Edited by Carlo Pedretti, London and New York, 1987, p. 44, fig. 31.
Martin Kemp, Jane Roberts Leonardo da Vinci. Exh. cat. London, Hayward Gallery. Exhibition held by the South Bank Center. London, 1989, pp. 168-169, under no. 92.
Martin Kemp "Leonardo's Drawings for 'Il Cavallo del Duca Francesco di Bronzo': The Program of Research." in Diane C. Ahl, ed. Leonardo da Vinci's Sforza Monument Horse: The Art and the Engineering.. 1995, pp. 65-66.
William Chandler Kirwin "The Bubble Reputation: In the Cannon's and the Horse's Mouth (or The Tale of Three Horses)." in Diane Cole Ahl, ed. Leonardo da Vinci's Sforza Monument Horse: the Art and the Engineering.. Bethlehem, PA, and elsewhere., 1995, pp. 97, 109, no. 53.
Andrew Butterfield The Sculptures of Andrea del Verrocchio. New Haven and London, 1997, fig. no. 255, pp. 185, 191.
Martin Clayton Leonardo da Vinci: The Divine and the Grotesque. Exh. cat. Edinburgh, The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse; London, The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace. London, 2002, p. 34, fig. 7.
Carmen C. Bambach Leonardo da Vinci: Master Draftsman. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (January 22 - March 30, 2003). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale University Press , New Haven and London, 2003, pp. 267-70, no. 9 (entry by Carmen C. Bambach), ill.
Dario A. Covi Andrea del Verrocchio: Life and Work.. Florence, 2005, pp. 234-337.
Paolo Galluzzi La mente di Leonardo: Nel laboratorio del Genio Universale. Exh. cat. Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi ( March 28, 2006 -January 7, 2007). Florence and Milan, 2006, pp. 216-17, no. IV.5B.
Pietro C. Marani "Leonardo, l'antico, il rilievo e le proporzioni dell'uomo e del cavallo." Leonardo: dagli studi proporzionali al Trattato della Pittura. Ed. by Pietro C. Marani, and Maria Teresa Fiorio, Milan, 2007, pp. 25, 27 n. 41, ill.
Carmen C. Bambach in Leonardo: Dagli studi proporzionali al Trattato della Pittura Exh. cat. Milan, Castello Sforzesco, Sala delle Asse. Pietro C. Marani, Edited by Maria Teresa Fiorio, Milan, 2007, pp. 59-61, no. 2.
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