Luca della Robbia, in full Luca di Simone di Marco della Robbia
(born 1399/1400, Florence [Italy] – died February 10, 1482, Florence),
sculptor, one of the pioneers of Florentine Renaissance style, who was the
founder of a family studio primarily associated with the production of works
in enameled terra-cotta.
Before developing the process with which his family name came to be associated,
Luca apparently practiced his art solely in marble. In 1431 he began what is
probably his most important work — the cantoria, or “singing
gallery,” that was originally over the door of the northern sacristy of
the cathedral of Florence. Taken down in 1688 and reassembled in the Opera del
Duomo Museum, it consists of 10 figurated reliefs: two groups of singing boys;
trumpeters; choral dancers; and children playing on various musical instruments.
The panels owe their great popularity to the innocence and naturalism with
which the children are portrayed. The most important of Luca's other works in
marble are a tabernacle carved for the Chapel of San Luca in the Santa Maria
Nuova Hospital in Florence (1441), and the tomb of Benozzo Federighi, bishop
of Fiesole (1454–57).
The earliest documented work in polychrome enameled terra-cotta, executed
wholly in that medium, is a lunette of the Resurrection over the door of the
northern sacristy of the Florence cathedral (1442–45). According to
Luca's contemporary, the writer Giorgio Vasari, the glaze with which Luca
covered his terra-cotta sculptures consisted of a mixture of tin, litharge
antimony, and other minerals. The Resurrection lunette in the cathedral was
followed by a corresponding relief of the Ascension over the southern sacristy
door, in which a wider range of colour is employed.
Of the many decorative schemes for which enameled terra-cotta was employed by
Luca della Robbia, some of the most important are the roundels of the Apostles
in Filippo Brunelleschi's Pazzi Chapel in Florence (soon after 1443); the roof
of Michelozzo's Chapel of the Crucifix in San Miniato al Monte, Florence
(c. 1448); and a lunette over the entrance of San Domenico at Urbino
(c. 1449). Luca's last major work in the medium is an altarpiece in the
Palazzo Vescovile at Pescia (after 1472). There are also many notable works
by Luca outside Italy.
From October of 1916 through January of 1917, Rudolf Steiner gave a series
of nine lectures known as the Art Course. These lectures were given
the title of:
The History of Art.
Click here to discover what Steiner said about Luca della Robbia in the
or in the entire