Luca Della Robbia
According to Vasari (in Quickly the ), Luca was born “In the year 1388 in the house from its ancestors which is under the church Saint Barnabe in Florence, it was high there with the uses of the time until it learned how not only to read and write, but also to count, according to the habit in force at the majority of Florentins, for its own needs. His/her father placed it then, so that he learns goldsmithery at Lionardo, wire of Giovanni, considered then with Florence as the best Master in this Article” Born in a family of dyers ( robbia means “garance” in Tuscan), he started as sculptor of Marbre and studied the ancient sculpture.
Luca Della Robbia carried out the cantoria (“platform of the cantors”, actually a balcony of organ) of the Dôme of Florence (1431), very important low-relief ordered by the Work of the Dome to be placed at the top of the door of the sacristy of the Masses. It completed it about 1438-1439. In 1446, Luca and his/her Marco brother bought a large house to place a workshop and a furnace there. In 1448, Marco died, leaving with the load of his/her brother his six nephews, among whom Andrea, most known of them. Andrea took again the head of the workshop with died of his/her uncle, and his/her five children worked there in their turn. Most famous among those is Giovanni, the third wire. After him, the workshop ceased producing.
Insensitive with the tendencies of the Rebirth formulated by Brunelleschi, Masaccio, Donatello, Luca Della Robbia is a sculptor whose clear sobriety of the plans and rates/rhythms, the traditional serenity of the faces, simple draperies and the sensitivity to the light will be always present in its work. He will seek the means of preserving his terra cotta works. Always according to Vasari “Because considering that the ground is worked easily and without much tiredness and that it misses only the means of once preserving works they were made, it dreamed so much that it found the means of defending them of the insults of time; after having tried out many things, it found, indeed, that by recovering them of a made mixture of tin, ground of antimony and other minerals and mixtures cooked with fire in a special furnace, one obtained this effect very well and one returned almost eternal ground work. ” The nephew of the artist and the wire of this one continued this technique. One of the last indexed sculptures is a work of Giovanni Della Robbia which is entitled Visiter the patients (1525-1529) one can see it at the Hospital del Ceppo of Pistoie. Thereafter the workshop of Della Robbia under the influence of the pupils of wire of the nephew, produced nothing any more but artisanal and commercial parts.
The family production was very prolific and was exported in all Europe. It included/understood planks and retables, emblems of corporation or armorial bearings of aristocrats, portraits of the Virgin Mary or saints, intended for the devotion private. Works of Della Robbia are characterized by their charm, their bright colors (especially blue and the white), the smoothness of modelled and the freshness of the drawing in a very recognizable style.
- Virgin with the Child with Putti , about 1490-1495, relief in ground-cooked painted, Museum of the California De luxe hotel off the Legion off Honor with San Francisco.
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