Colleoni died in 1475 and left a large part of his fortune to the Republic to be spent in the war with the Turks, and a little for a statue in the Piazza of S. Mark. But the rules against statues being erected there being adamant, the site was changed to the campo of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, and Andrea Verrocchio was brought from Florence to prepare the group. He began it in 1479 and died while still working on it, leaving word that his pupil, Lorenzo di Credi, should complete it. Di Credi, however, was discouraged by the authorities, and the task was given to Alessandro Leopardi (who made the sockets for the three flagstaffs opposite S. Mark’s), and it is his name which is inscribed on the statue. But to Verrocchio the real honour.
Among the Colleoni statue’s great admirers was Robert Browning, who never tired of telling the story of the hero to those unacquainted with it.
The vast church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo does for the Dominicans what the Frari does for the Franciscans; the two churches being the Venetian equivalents of Florence’s S. Maria Novella and Santa Croce. Like too many of the church facades of Venice, this one is unfinished and probably ever will be. Unlike the Frari, to which it has a general resemblance, the church of John and Paul is domed; or rather it possesses a dome, with golden balls upon its cupola like those of S. Mark. Within, it is light and immense but far inferior in charm to its great red rival. It may contain no Titian’s ashes, but both Giovanni and Gentile Bellini lie here; and its forty-six Doges give it a cachet. We come at once to two of them, for on the outside wall are the tombs of Doge Jacopo Tiepolo, who gave the land for the church, and of his son, Doge Lorenzo Tiepolo.
[Illustration: BARTOLOMMEO COLLEONI FROM THE STATUE BY ANDREA VERROCCHIO]
Just within we find Alvise Mocenigo (1570-1577) who was on the throne when Venice was swept by the plague in which Titian died, and who offered the church of the Redentore on the Guidecca as a bribe to Heaven to stop the pestilence. Close by lie his predecessors and ancestors, Pietro Mocenigo, the admiral, and Giovanni Mocenigo, his brother, whose reign (1478-1485) was peculiarly belligerent and witnessed the great fire