Luca della Robbia (1400-1481)

Italian Sculptor Luca della Robbia sculpted primarily enameled terracotta roundels and was one of the pioneers of the Florentine Renaissance style. The della Robbia family names has since been come to be associated with the enameled terracotta sculptures they created. Luca della Robbia was the uncle of fellow sculptor Andrea della Robbia.

Della Robbia sculpted initially exclusively in marble. Eventually, he developed a pottery glaze that made his sculptures more durable against the elements of nature and thus more suited for the facades of buildings. Della Robbia sculptures were more charming than dramatic, unlike his contemporaries who embraced the drama.

Della Robbia sculptures were usually religious-themed reliefs, especially noted are those of the Madonna. He sculpted normally in blue and white but sometimes added layers of green and yellow onto the floral wreathes that so often surrounded his figures. Della Robbia s terracottas were art alone, sculpted and added to walls to serve as art in an architectural context.

In 1481, della Robbia sculpted a series of reliefs which is arguably his most important work. This sculptures were originally located over a door, in the singing gallery and in the bell tower of the Cathedral of Florence, and the panels feature ten reliefs featuring the figures of choirboys, trumpeters, dancers and children playing various musical instruments. This series included Song of the Lutes and Blast of the Horns.

Della Robba created reliefs and altarpieces in bronze, marble and his signature terracotta white figures on blue ground until his death in 1482.

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