The republic entrusted the work to the Florentine Verrocchio, who dying before the statue was completed begged the government to allow his pupil Lorenzo di Credi to carry it to a conclusion.
The greatest artists in metal laboured on it in succession, among them Orcagna, Ghiberti, Verrocchio, Ant.
Whole volumes might be devoted to the magnificent works in bronze produced by the Florentine artists of this century, works such as the baptistery gates by Ghiberti, the statues of Verrocchio, Donatello and many others, the bronze screen in Prato cathedral by Simone, brother of Donatello, in 1444-1461, and the screen and bronze ornaments of the tomb of Piero and Giovanni dei Medici in San Lorenzo, Florence, by Verrocchio, in 1472.
His father showed some of his drawings to an acquaintance, Andrea del Verrocchio, who at once recognized the boy's artistic vocation, and was selected by Ser Piero to be his master.
Verrocchio, although hardly one of the great creative or inventive forces in the art of his age at Florence, was a first-rate craftsman alike as goldsmith, sculptor and painter, and particularly distinguished as a teacher.
He had soon learnt all that Verrocchio had to teach - more than all, if we are to believe the oft-told tale of the figure, or figures, executed by the pupil in the picture of Christ's Baptism designed by the master for the monks of Vallombrosa.
According to Vasari the angel kneeling on the left, with a drapery over the right arm, was put ire by Leonardo, and when Verrocchio saw it his sense of its superiority to his own work caused him to forswear painting for ever after.
Up till 1477 he is still spoken of as a pupil or apprentice of Verrocchio; but in that year he seems to have been taken into special favour by Lorenzo the Magnificent, and to have worked as an independent artist under his patronage until 1482-1483.
This little Louvre "Annunciation" is not very compatible in style with another and larger, muchdebated "Annunciation" at the Uffizi, which manifestly came from the workshop of Verrocchio about 1473-1474, and which many critics claim confidently for the young Leonardo.
It may have been joint studio-work of Verrocchio and his pupils including Leonardo, who certainly was concerned in it, since a study for the sleeve of the angel, preserved at Christ Church, Oxford, is unquestionably by his hand.