Verrocchio, a favorite artist of the Medici, may have created this lively and commanding portrait on the occasion of a joust that took place in 1475 in Florence for Giuliano de' Medici's coming of age. The bust was originally painted and possibly adorned with a metal helmet and other decoration, projecting an exuberance especially evident in the winged face modeled on Giuliano's fanciful armor. The beloved younger brother of the de facto ruler of Florence, Lorenzo the Magnificent, Giuliano was destined for an important future, a hope cut off by his dramatic murder during mass in Florence's cathedral, on April 26, 1478, in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Medici rule.


  • Title: Giuliano de' Medici
  • Creator: Andrea del Verrocchio
  • Date Created: c. 1475/1478
  • Physical Dimensions: overall: 61 x 66 x 28.3 cm (24 x 26 x 11 1/8 in.)
  • Provenance: Purchased 1846 in Italy by Eugène Piot [1812-1890], Paris.[1] Louis-Charles Timbal [1821-1880], Paris, by 1866;[2] Gustave Dreyfus [1837-1914], Paris; his estate; purchased 1930 with the entire Dreyfus collection by (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris); purchased 15 December 1936 by The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh;[3] gift 1937 to NGA. [1] According to the prospectus about the bust prepared by Duveen Brothers, Inc., in NGA curatorial files. [2] A drawing of the bust by Chevignard, placing it in Timbal's collection, was published in _Le Magasin Pittoresque_ 34 (1866): 11-12, 41. [3] The original Duveen Brothers invoice is in Gallery Archives (Record Group 12, Subject Files, box 2), copy in NGA curatorial files.
  • Medium: terracotta

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