December 9th, 2010

Christmas, Advent

Advent Art: Virgin Adoring the Christ Child

Andrea della Robbia (1435–1525)
Virgin Adoring the Christ Child, ca. 1483
Terracotta with glaze
Virgin Adoring the Christ Child
The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

I thought I featured a Madonna and Child by della Robbia back in 2004, but when I went back and checked the archives I discovered I was both right and wrong about that. This work is by the noted Florentine sculptor Andrea della Robbia, whereas the work I featured back then was by Luca della Robbia, Andrea's uncle and the artist who developed the glazing technique and artistic style (white figures on a blue background) that was the trademark of the della Robbia studio. This one is quite a lot more ornate than the one I showed in 2004, possibly because Andrea had refined the technique--this one was made about eight years after the other, but more likely because this one is believed to have been commissioned by a wealthy patron (Bartolomeo di Rosso Buondelmonti, a kinsman of Cristoforo Buondelmonti, who was among the notable Florentinians who was pictured in Ghirlandaio's Apparition of the Angel to Zechariah, the featured work on November 28), who may have been willing to pay for the additional detail.

Previous Advent posts:

2003: Christmas
2004: The Adoration of the Shepherds
2005: Comfort and Joy
2006: from About a Boy
2007: Madonna and Child
2008: Selections from A Charlie Brown Christmas
2009: The Stable Rat