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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Today is the last day for Della Robbia in the U.S. and Washington

Outside the West Garden Court, the Della Robbia exhibition welcomes visitors at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
Giovanni della Robbia (1469-1529-1530), Resurrection of Christ, 1520-1525, loaned by the Brooklyn MuseumHundreds of years ago this hung on a garden gate at the Antinoris' villa near Florence, Italy, the family who helped sponsor the exhibition and made possible the year-long conservation project of Resurrection which was moved for the first time in more than 100 years from Brooklyn for the show. The sculpture is 12 feet wide.  (Writer's note:  These photos do not convey the size, scope, and depth of these pieces.)/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Andrea della Robbia (1435-1525), Prudence, c. 1475, Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is the cover of the catalog, a double-faced head who gazes into the future on the left while an old man on the right who bears a resemblance to Prudence, considers the past, his beard mixing with her hair. The snake here is "a biblical symbol of wisdom," the label says.  The diameter is about 5'4"/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Andrea della Robbia (1435-1525), Bust of a Boy, 1475, Museo Nazionale del Bargello which welcomes visitors to the exhibition.  The boy glances to his left, yearning to hear what is happening behind him where visitors chat and admire The Visitation, c. 1445 by Luca della Robbia (1399/1400-1482)/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Luca della Robbia (1399/1400-1482) The Visitation, c. 1445, Church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, Pistoia. The National Gallery of Art says The Visitation is "a masterpiece of 15th-century art in any medium" which came to the U.S. for the first trip for this exhibition.

"The nearly life-size composition depicts the emotional moment from the Gospel of Luke when the pregnant Virgin Mary is welcomed by her elderly cousin Elizabeth, pregnant with St. John the Baptist. Formed fully in the round, the two figures were fired in four individual pieces that fit securely together," the National Gallery explains/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Luca della Robbia (1399/1400-1482) The Visitation, c. 1445, Church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, Pistoia/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Luca della Robbia (1399/1400-1482) The Visitation, c. 1445, Church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, Pistoia/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Luca della Robbia (1399/1400-1482) The Visitation, c. 1445, Church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, Pistoia/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Andrea della Robbia (1435-1525), Adoration of the Christ Child (the Ruskin Madonna), after 1477, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.  Known as the Ruskin Madonna due to its ownership by the writer and art critic, John Ruskin (1819-1900) who called it "quite one of the most precious things I have." In his study Adoration hung over the mantle/Photo by Patricia Leslie
From left are works by Girolamo della Robbia (1488-1566): the Bust of a Man, 1526-1535, Bust of a Woman, about 1530, Francis I (1494-1547), King of France, 1529, and Bust of a Classical Hero or Emperor, c. 1530. Lenders were the J. Paul Getty Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Art/Photo by Patricia Leslie
These five feet tall saints made by a Della Robbia competitor, Santi Buglioni (1494-1576) "are impressive for their scale and charismatic presence," according to the National Gallery, "but proved difficult to fire, as indicated by the large cracks and peculiarities visible in the glazed surfaces." Lenders were an American private collector, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Gallerie degli Uffizi/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Andrea della Robbia, Rondel with Head of a Youth, c. 1470-1480, Detroit Institute of Arts/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Luca della Robbia the Younger, 1475-1548, Adoring Angel, 1510-1515, private collection. This artist is called "the younger" to distinguish him from his uncle, the Della Robbia art style founder /Photo by Patricia Leslie
Andrea della Robbia (1435-1525), Cherub, c. 1500, private collection. This is one of two similar statues, both likely made for the frame of a church.  Andrea and his wife had 12 children and he was well versed in their expressions, the label copy notes/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Giovanni della Robbia (1469-1529-1530), Dovizia (Abundance), c. 1520, Minneapolis Institute of Art. Note the similarities with Judith (below) which stands at the entrance to the exhibition with Dovizia/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Giovanni della Robbia (1469-1529/1530), Judith, c. 1520, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The biblical Judith, who risked her life to save Florence, holds the head of the enemy commander Holofernes, whom she enticed with wine/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Luca della Robbia (1399/1400-1482) The Visitation, c. 1445, Church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, Pistoia/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Luca della Robbia (1399/1400-1482) The Visitation, c. 1445, Church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, Pistoia/Photo by Patricia Leslie


Today is the last day of display at the National Gallery of Art
and in the United States of the colorful Italian Renaissance terra cotta sculptures of the famously known Della Robbia.

In Italy the pieces graced public spaces, gardens, courtyards, and private homes, including hundreds of years later, some American homes whose owners, like Isabella Stewart Gardner of Boston, traveled abroad and collected them.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  organized the 40 pieces in the show which hung there first before coming to Washington.
  
Three generations of Della Robbia artists are associated with the art form beginning with the inventor, Luca della Robbia (1399/1400-1482) who founded the glazing technique that combined baked clay with brilliant colors to produce the pieces which have endured 600 years and more.

Following Luca were his nephew, Andrea (1435-1525) and Andrea's sons, Giovanni (1469-1529/1530) and  Girolamo (1488-1566).  Some of the show's art comes from competitors

Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence is the title of the 176-paged catalog with 130 color pictures, many which cover entire pages. Written by Marietta Cambareri, a senior curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and one of the two curators for the show with the National Gallery's Alison Luchs, the book is available at the Gallery's gift shops or here.

The American people are grateful to the sponsors which made the exhibition possible including the Altria Group on behalf of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the Antinori family, Sally Engelhard Pingree, the Charles Engelhard Foundation, the Buffy and William Cafritz Family Foundation, and the Exhibition Circle for their generous support."
 
What: Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence

When: The National Gallery of Art is open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sunday. The exhibition closes today.

Where: West Building, the National Gallery of Art, between Third and Ninth streets at Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. On the Mall.

Admission charge:
None

Metro stations for the National Gallery of Art
:
Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, Navy Memorial-Archives, or L'Enfant Plaza

For more information: 202-737-4215

patricialesli@gmail.com

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