“Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence” opens at the MFA in Boston: August 9, 2016

Andrea della Robbia, Prudence (detail), about 1475. Glazed terracotta. Lent by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1921.

Andrea della Robbia, Prudence (detail), about 1475. Glazed terracotta. Lent by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1921.

Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence

August 9 – December 4, 2016

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Lois B. and Michael K. Torf Gallery (Gallery 184)

Luca Della Robbia, "The Visitation," c. 1445, Glazed terracotta, Church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, Pistoia. Photograph: Scala/Art Resource, NY.

Luca della Robbia, “The Visitation,” c. 1445, Glazed terracotta, Church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, Pistoia. Photograph: Scala/Art Resource, NY.

In the 15th century, Luca della Robbia (1399/1400–1482) invented a glazing technique for sculpture characterized by brilliant opaque whites and deep cerulean blues. Luca shared the secrets of his technique with his nephew and principal collaborator Andrea della Robbia, who in turn passed them on to his sons Giovanni, Luca the Younger, Marco, Francesco, and Girolamo. The Della Robbia family workshop flourished in Florence for about a century, producing expressive artworks for all spheres of life. Portraying both sacred and secular themes, it gained a strong presence in public spaces—from street corners to churches—and private homes. Production of sculpture using this technique lasted only about a century before its secrets were lost. Some of the most familiar images today of Renaissance Italy, Della Robbia sculptures have retained their original color and shine over the centuries.

Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston presents these works as powerful, expressive examples of the best of Italian Renaissance art. The exhibition features almost 50 objects, mostly from American collections but including six important loans from Italy, never seen in the US before. The Visitation (about 1445) from the church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas in Pistoia and the Brooklyn Museum’s newly restored Resurrection of Christ (about 1520–24) travel to Boston along with a trio of nearly life-size works from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and a private collection. The exhibition of glazed terracotta Renaissance works by the Della Robbia and rival workshops spans a variety of formats—Madonna and Child reliefs, small- and large-scale figures, narrative reliefs, coats-of-arms, and still-life compositions—that demonstrate the range and visual impact of the groundbreaking Della Robbia glazing technique.

MFA Boston

Avenue of the Arts
465 Huntington Avenue, Boston

www.mfa.org

About SACI

SACI is a US non-profit College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, for undergraduate and graduate students seeking accredited instruction in studio art, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Founded in 1975, SACI offers the following programs: Academic Semester/Year Abroad, Late Spring & Summer Studies, Venice Summer Program, Post-Bac in Conservation, Post-Bac in Studio Art; MFA in Studio Art, MFA in Photography, MFA in Communication Design, Low-Residency MFA in Studio Art, MA in Art History.

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