Page 4, 7th August 1953

7th August 1953
Page 4
Page 4, 7th August 1953 — PICTURES IN CHURCH: 152 A MONO the sculptors of the early
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Organisations: IN CHURCH
Locations: Florence

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PICTURES IN CHURCH: 152 A MONO the sculptors of the early

renaissance one inevitably ranks Luca della Robbie. after Ghiberti and Donatello. After the strength sweetness. . . .

Luca della Robbia introduced colour into sculpture; his serene blue and white glazed reliefs became a national institution and were at first hand-imitated but now are repeated by a factory which makes the designs in every size for church facade to bedroom mantelpiece. Probably few artists have ever given so much pleasure to so many people.

His serene colouring is reflected in his happy subjects. Quiet mothers and beautiful children are among his favourites. Sweetness of expression is characteristic of everything he does. Laughing and singing, his children of the Cantoria for Florence cathedral march in musical procession, girls with lutes, dancing boys, some flower-garlanded, some playing the horn, others the organ, the harp, the mandoline, the drum or clashing the cymbals and the tamborine. This frieze of figures, an early work, still remains his triumph. Its classical origins, its rich variety and its easy rhythms were never surpassed either by him, or by his nephew, Andrea, who followed him in the same tradition. More heroic Luca certainly became as time passed, but never MOM sympathetic. His reliefs of the Resurrection and the Ascension in the cathedral arc grander and more monumental than his frieze of children and his earlier Madonnas. but are they so endearing? Della Robbia had the makings of a fine stone carver. His marbles and bronzes. too, are magnificent but he became fam Boys clashing cymbals, from the Cantorla terracotta by Luca della Robbie, in the cathedral museum, Florence (1430) ous for the enamel glaze which he discovered made terracotta as hard as stone but much easier to work, and most of his commissions were for Madonnas in this charming medium. His opportunities for developing in other directions were few.

Iris Coning




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