TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY
 

Loading
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
     
  Late Gothic & Early Renaissance

Architecture
1 - 2 - 3 - 4
 
Sculpture
1 - 27
Painting
1 - 2 - 3
 
     
 
     
 
CONTENTS
  BACK NEXT    
 
 
 
Late Gothic & Early Renaissance
 
 
 
Sculpture
 
 
 
Sculpture

Nanni di Banco
Donatello
Agostino Di Duccio
Bertoldo di Giovanni
Mino da Fiesole

Desiderio da Settignano
Filarete
Vecchietta
Andrea Bregno
Pietro Lombardo
Antonio Lombardo
Tullio Lombardo
Giovanni Antonio Amadeo
Francesco di Giorgio Martini
Benedetto da Maiano
Luca Della Robbia
Andrea della Robbia

Bernardo Rossellino
Antonio Rossellino
Antonio del Pollaiuolo
Niccolò dell’Arca
Andrea del Verrocchio
 
 
Luca Della Robbia
 
 

Luca della Robbia, in full Luca di Simone di Marco della Robbia (born 1399/1400, Florence [Italy]—died Feb. 10, 1482), sculptor, one of the pioneers of Florentine Renaissance style, who was the founder of a family studio primarily associated with the production of works in enameled terra-cotta.

Before developing the process with which his family name came to be associated, Luca apparently practiced his art solely in marble. In 1431 he began what is probably his most important work, the cantoria, or “singing gallery,” that was originally over the door of the northern sacristy of the Cathedral of Florence. Taken down in 1688 and reassembled in the Opera del Duomo Museum, it consists of 10 figurated reliefs: two groups of singing boys; trumpeters; choral dancers; and children playing on various musical instruments. The panels owe their great popularity to the innocence and naturalism with which the children are portrayed. The most important of Luca’s other works in marble are a tabernacle carved for the Chapel of San Luca in the Santa Maria Nuova Hospital in Florence (1441; now at Peretola), and the tomb of Benozzo Federighi, bishop of Fiesole (1454–57; Santa Trinita, Florence).

The earliest documented work in polychrome enameled terra-cotta, executed wholly in that medium, is a lunette of the Resurrection over the door of the northern sacristy of the cathedral (1442–45). According to Luca’s contemporary, the writer Giorgio Vasari, the glaze with which Luca covered his terra-cotta sculptures consisted of a mixture of tin, litharge antimony, and other minerals. The Resurrection lunette in the cathedral was followed by a corresponding relief of the Ascension over the southern sacristy door, in which a wider range of colour is employed.

Of the many decorative schemes for which enameled terra-cotta was employed by Luca della Robbia, some of the most important are the roundels of Apostles in Filippo Brunelleschi’s Pazzi Chapel in Florence (soon after 1443); the roof of Michelozzo’s Chapel of the Crucifix in San Miniato al Monte, Florence (c. 1448); and a lunette over the entrance of San Domenico at Urbino (c. 1449). Luca’s last major work in this medium is an altarpiece in the Palazzo Vescovile at Pescia (after 1472). There are also many notable works by Luca outside Italy.

Encyclopaedia Britannica
 

 

Ghiberti aside, the only significant sculptor in Florence after Donatello left was Luca Della Robbia (1400-1482). He had made his reputation in the 1430s with the marble reliefs of the Cantoria (singers' pulpit) in the Cathedral. The Trumpet Players panel reproduced here shows the beguiling mixture of sweetness and gravity characteristic of all of Luca's work but leavened here by an unusual note of exuberance. Its style has very little to do with Donatello. Instead, it recalls the classicism of Nanni di Banco, with whom Luca may have worked as a youth. We also sense a touch of Ghiberti here and there, as well as the powerful influence of classicistic Roman reliefs. Unfortunately, Luca lacked a capacity for growth, despite his great gifts. So far as we know, he never did a free-standing statue, and the Cantoria remained his most ambitious achievement.
 



Luca Della Robbia. Cantoria. 1431-38, Marble, 328 x 560 cm. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence


 


Luca Della Robbia. Cantoria: first top relief Trumpet Players. с. 1431-38. Marble, 103 x 93.5 cm. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence
Luca Della Robbia. Cantoria: second top relief. 1431-38. Marble, 100 x 94 cm. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence


 


Luca Della Robbia. Cantoria: third top relief. 1431-38. Marble, 100 x 94 cm. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence
Luca Della Robbia. Cantoria: fourth top relief. 1431-38. Marble, 100 x 94 cm. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence


 


Luca Della Robbia. Cantoria: first bottom relief. 1431-38. Marble, 99 x 92 cm. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence
Luca Della Robbia. Cantoria: second bottom relief. 1431-38. Marble, 99 x 92 cm. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence


 


Luca Della Robbia. Cantoria: left side relief. 1431-38. Marble, 96 x 61 cm. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence
Luca Della Robbia. Cantoria: right side relief. 1431-38. Marble, 96 x 61 cm. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence
 

For the rest of his long career, he devoted himself almost exclusively to sculpture in terracotta, a cheaper and less demanding medium than marble, which he covered with enamellike glazes to mask its surface and make it impervious to weather. His finest works in this technique, such as The Resurrection, have the dignity and charm of the Cantona panels. The white glaze creates the impression of marble, with a deep blue for the background of the lunette. Other colors were confined almost entirely to the decorative framework of Luca's reliefs. This restraint, however, lasted only while he was in active charge of his workshop. Later, the quality of the modeling deteriorated and the simple harmony of white and blue often gave way to an assortment of more vivid hues. At the end of the century, the della Robbia shop had become a factory, turning out small Madonna panels and garish altarpieces for village churches by the score.

Because of Luca's almost complete withdrawal from the domain of carving, there was a real shortage of capable marble sculptors in the Florence of the 1440s. By the time Donatello returned, this gap had been filled by a group of men, most of them still in their twenties, from the little hill towns to the north and east of Florence that had long supplied the city with stonemasons and carvers. Now, because the exceptional circumstances gave them special opportunities, the most gifted of them developed into artists of considerable importance.



Luca Della Robbia. North Sacristy Doors with the Resurrection. 1442-75. Enameled terracotta and bronze. Duomo, Florence
Luca Della RobbiaThe Resurrection. 1442-45. Glazed terracotta, 160 x 222.2 cm. Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence




Luca Della Robbia. Bronze Doors of the New Sacristy. 1446-75. Duomo, Florence




Luca Della Robbia. Bronze Doors of the New Sacristy. 1446-75. Duomo, Florence

 




Luca Della Robbia. Tondo Portrait of a Lady. 1465. Glazed terracotta, diameter: 54 cm
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence




Luca Della Robbia. Crucifixion. c. 1465. Glazed terracotta, 150 x 65 cm
Santa Maria, Impruneta




Luca Della Robbia. The Peretola Tabernacle. 1441-43. Marble, bronze and glazed terracotta, 260 x 122 cm
Santa Maria, Peretola




Luca Della Robbia. Visitation. c. 1445. Glazed terracotta, 184 x 153 cm
San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, Pistoia




Luca Della Robbia. St James the Great. 1440s. Glazed terracotta, diameter 134 cm
Pazzi Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence

 
 

 
 
 
CONTENTS
  BACK NEXT