We made it. It’s always complicated to get organized with husbands and children to go to art events. They are not in the least interested but … Manuela and I have a secret weapon: GOOD FOOD!
We discovered a couple of years ago a nice wine bar in Arezzo, with excellent food, home made local dishes with fresh ingredient from the area. You know, ribollita, white beans, finocchiona, pecorino … Suddenly no one had any objection to a Sunday off and we met in Arezzo, under a cloudy sky, excited to see so many Della Robbia works in a single place. Continue reading
In 1471 Luca della Robbia bequeathed his successful factory to his nephew Simone. He didn’t trust Andrea (1435-1525), whom he believed too concentrated on getting the highest revenue from the family business.
Actually, he was more or less right, if we consider that after his death Andrea massively increased the production of glazed terracotta. However the quality of the pieces did not suffer
much from it. At least in the beginning.
Andrea was a very good artist with a businessman approach to what he considered the family “company”: he increased the number of subjects so as to please both Catholic institutions and laical Customers who favored his glazed terra-cotta, that – if not cheaper than marble – was by far easier to ship and install.
The story of the Della Robbia family begins in 1441-2 when Luca della Robbia, a cultivated and bright minded man, developed a new technique that would allow him to blend the magic of painting, sculpting and pottery making into a brand new form of artistry: the Architectural Ceramic Art.
His family was very well known in Florence for their textile business, which is somehow connected with the origin of their name: Della Robbia comes from Rubia (madder), a plant used in ancient times as a vegetable red dye for textile dyeing and for painting.
According to Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), the famous biographer of Renaissance painters, sculptors and architects, Luca della Robbia’s technique was so revolutionary that he’d be praised for it for many centuries to come. He explained how it was not such a hard work to make a clay sculpture and the only reason why clay had not been used much so far was that it could not be preserved over time. Luca, after many experiments, managed to invent a special mixture of minerals. This glaze, used to coat the sculptures before the firing in a suitable kiln, would make them almost eternal.
Dec. 15, 2008 – Feb. 28, 2009
Firenze – Italy
An adorable clay sculpture of the Madonna with Child recently attributed to Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) will be on exhibit for the first time through Feb. 28th, 2009 in the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence.
The terracotta bust portraits a young woman with downcast eyes, deep in thought. She gently holds her baby, who leans on her shoulder with profound trust and intimacy, interlocking his legs with her arms.