Art: Wandering Boy

The marble baby dimpling among the dried-up plants on the Manhattan art dealer's window sill was badly in need of a bath. But to Dr. Walter Heil, director of San Francisco's De Young Memorial Museum, his happy face and grimy little body had a familiar look. Andrea del Verrocchio,* Renaissance goldsmith, painter and sculptor, had carved some other youngsters very like him.

After long reflection, Director Heil bought the boy (for a price he regards as his secret) and took him home for a good soap & water scrubbing. By this winter he had...