Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence
February 5–June 4, 2017
West Building, West Garden Court, Lobby B, Galleries 10, 11, and 12.
This exhibition is made possible by Altria Group on behalf of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and by Marchesi Antinori S.p.A.
“Those who come to see Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence will be impressed by the dramatic use of bright colors and the sheer size of some of these Renaissance masterpieces,” said Ted Baseler, President and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. “We are very pleased to support this incredible exhibition in the nation’s capital.”
“Supporting and celebrating the arts has always been important to our family, and we’re honored that the Della Robbia exhibition and the newly renovated Resurrection of Christ lunetta featuring one of our ancestors and the family coat of arms will be showcased in the renowned National Gallery of Art,” said Alessia Antinori, the 26th Generation of the Tuscan winemaking family.
Luca della Robbia (1399/1400-1482), a master sculptor in marble and bronze, invented a glazing technique for terracotta sculpture that positioned him as one of the most innovative artists of the 15th century. Today, the sculptures created by Luca and his family workshop retain their brilliant opaque whites, deep cerulean blues, and botanical greens, purples and yellows over modeling that makes them powerful and engaging examples of Italian Renaissance art. Resistant to weather and easily readable at a distance, Della Robbia works were widely collected in the late 19th and early 20th century by Americans traveling to Italy who sought to bring something of the Renaissance home.
Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence will present some 40 works by Luca, his nephew Andrea (1435-1525), Andrea’s sons, and the competing Buglioni workshop. The sculptures come chiefly from American collections but also include major international loans, among them Luca's masterpiece of sculpture in the round, The Visitation, on view outside of Italy for the first time. Various sculptural types—Madonna and Child reliefs, portraits, architectural decorations, household statuettes and active full-scale figures—will show the range and emotional appeal of Della Robbia glazed ceramics. Technical analysis and conservation conducted at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Brooklyn Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art will provide new insight into how these groundbreaking works were made.