Leonardo in Verrocchio’s Workshop: Re-examining the Technical Evidence

Jill Dunkerton
Technical Bulletin Volume 32, 2011


Recent studies of Verrocchio’s painting technique and workshop practice have implications for our understanding of Leonardo’s. Many aspects of Leonardo’s technique, including his underdrawing procedure and use of monochrome undermodelling, appear to originate with his master. However, since Verrocchio seems to have remained primarily a tempera painter, it is proposed that Leonardo may also have spent time with the Pollaiuolo brothers in order to learn to paint in oils. This article discusses the technique of Leonardo’s earliest works, and also the extent of his contribution to The Baptism of Christ (Uffizi, Florence), which he finished many years after it was begun by Verrocchio. The proposal that Leonardo executed parts of Tobias and the Angel is also considered.


Andrea del Verrocchio, Leonardo da Vinci, Lorenzo di Credi, Antonio and Piero del Pollaiuolo, Pietro Perugino, panel painting, X-radiography, infrared reflectography, underdrawing, tempera painting, oil painting, workshops

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Dunkerton, J. 'Leonardo in Verrocchio’s Workshop: Re-examining the Technical Evidence'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 32, pp 4–31.

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  • Technical Bulletin Volume 33
    In this volume: Renoir’s 'Umbrellas' – Gerini’s 'Baptism Altarpiece' – Vuillard’s 'La Terrasse at Vasouy' - Adolphe Monticelli - 15th and 16th century European paintings
  • See other articles in Technical Bulletin Volume 32
    In this volume: Leonardo in Verrocchio's workshop – 'The Virgin of the Rocks' – painting practice in Milan in the 1490s – an altarpiece once in San Francesco Grande, Milan