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Relief - Virgin and Child
  • Virgin and Child
    Andrea della Robbia, born 1435 - died 1525
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Virgin and Child

  • Object:

    Relief

  • Place of origin:

    Florence, Italy (made)

  • Date:

    late 15th century - early 16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Andrea della Robbia, born 1435 - died 1525 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Enamelled terracotta

  • Museum number:

    5633-1859

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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This medallion is made by Andrea della Robbia (1435-1525), in Florence in the late 15th or early 16th century.

This is a beautiful version of the similar tondo formerly in the Foulc collection in Paris, now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The types of the Virgin and Child are closely related to paintings by Domenico Ghirlandaio.

The Della Robbia family was an Italian family of sculptors and potters. They were active in Florence from the early 15th century and elsewhere in Italy and France well into the 16th. Family members were traditionally employed in the textile industry, and their name derives from rubia tinctorum, a red dye.

Andrea was the nephew of Luca della Robbia, who founded the workshop and invented the technique of enamelled terracotta.
This technique is about evenly applying pigment suspended in tin-oxide glaze to the fired terracotta before refiring. The pallet was restricted and it was eg. not possible to reproduce flesh-tones, so these areas have been left unglazed, and would have been painted instead to create a more natural effect.
Andrea della Robbia, who inherited the workshop, tended to use more complex compositions and polychrome glazing rather than the simple blue-and-white schemes favoured by his uncle.
Trained as a marble sculptor in the studio of his uncle Luca, Andrea della Robbia also became an excellent modeller, unrivalled in his ability to capture the life of his subjects in glazed clay. His best-known works are 10 roundels of infants on the fa├žade of Florence's Foundling Hospital (about 1487).

Physical description

Virgin and Child with two Cherub heads. Circular relief in blue and white enamelled terracotta. The Virgin holds the Child standing on her right. She is represented half-length turned slightly to the left, supporting the Child in a standing posture beside her. He holds the end of her veil in his right hand. The eyes are painted in brown and black. In a carved and gilt wood frame.

Place of Origin

Florence, Italy (made)

Date

late 15th century - early 16th century (made)

Artist/maker

Andrea della Robbia, born 1435 - died 1525 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Enamelled terracotta

Dimensions

Diameter: 53.3 cm

Object history note

This is a beautiful version of the similar tondo formerly in the Foulc collection in Paris, now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The types of the Virgin and Child are closely related to paintings by Domenico Ghirlandaio.
Purchased from the Soulages Collection.

Descriptive line

Relief of the Virgin and Child by Andrea della Robbia, Florence, late 15th or early 16th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1859. In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 13
Maclagan, Eric and Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture. Text. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1932, p. 50
Gentilini, Giancarlo. ed. I Della Robbia, La Scultura invetriata nel Rinascimento. Florence: 1992, p. 221
Pope-Hennessy, John. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Volume I: Text. Eighth to Fifteenth Century. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1964, pp. 214, 215

Exhibition History

Art Treasures in Manchester: 150 years on (Manchester Art Gallery 06/10/2007-27/01/2008)

Materials

Terracotta

Techniques

Enamelling

Subjects depicted

Mary (Virgin Mary); Cherubs; Jesus

Categories

Sculpture; Religion; Christianity

Collection code

SCP

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Qr_O93032
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