Leonardo di Vinci is often considered one of the greatest painters of all time, but was so much more. He was a man interested in almost everything, and had an endless thirst for knowledge and experimenting. He did work as a sculptor, writer, geologist, scientist, musician and more.
The Leonardo di Vinci sculptures are a lost mystery, though. There are no sculptures that can be attributed directly to di Vinci. We have over 13,000 pages of drawings and notes that he made in hist studies. Some of these show sketches and drawings that he made while preparing for some of his sculpture work, but no finished pieces remain. In some cases, there have been sculpture made up from his notes, and we can get a glimpse at di Vinci’s work and genius.
There have been small statues found at times, figures that sculptors would use to make their finished pieces. Some of the pieces have been thought to be made by di Vinci, because they related somehow to other works we know about, or because they show up in his drawings. However, there is no way to be sure that any of these pieces was definitely done by di Vinci.
There are also pieces that are attributed to other artists, but are thought to have been done by Leonardo di Vinci, either in whole or part. When artists were training, they would often do some of the work for their teachers. Also, when artists work together, when pushing each other to get better, they may start to do some of the work in the same manner.
Leonardo di Vinci’s teacher, Andrea Del Verrocchio, was also a renowned sculptor. Leonardo was his student for over 10 years. Verrocchio made a panel with multiple sculpted pieces in it for the Baptistry in Florence. As the panel was being cleaned for an exhibition in 2007, it was noticed some of the pieces in the panel appeared to have different authors. Two of the pieces have work done where no one will see it, others do not. Those same two have more natural details around the helmet.
Another of Verrocchio’s students was Giovanni Francesco Rustici. He studied with Verrocchio at the same time as di Vinci. When Andrea Del Verrocchio left Florence and moved to Venice, Rustici and Leonardo lived and worked together. There are several of the works done by Rustici that portray influences of di Vinci. Again, we have the sketches and drawings to thank for being able to determine this. From these we can see that Rustici either took ideas from di Vinci or collaborated with him on the ideas for the pieces. There are also signs that di Vinci may have done some of the work on some of the pieces.
By putting all the different clues together, we can start to get an idea of how Leonardo di Vinci sculptures may have looked, and how brilliant of a sculptor he was. It is regretful that we have no Leonardo di Vinci sculptures that have survived to the present time.