The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Virgin and Child
  • Workshop of Andrea della Robbia (1435 - 1525)
  • Virgin and Child
  • Florence, Italy
  • c. 1500
  • Terracotta
  • Moulded terracotta, tin-glazed. Hollowed out at the back.
  • Height: 51.8 cm
    Width: 36 cm
    Depth: 13.5 cm
  • S53
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Our relief was probably made in the workshop of Andrea della Robbia (1435-1525), nephew of Luca (1400-82), who pioneered the production of this type of sculpture.

    The theme of the Virgin with the standing Child must have been very popular, as the numerous surviving examples testify, and indeed was one that Andrea re-worked numerous times since the early 1470s. It is a very successful composition, closely focusing on the love between a mother and child, clearly expressed by the tenderness with which the two heads touch and in the loving way in which the Virgin supports the young Christ, who in turn places his right hand on his mother's left.

    Two other examples of this composition, very close to our relief, are today still in street tabernacles in Florence. In particular, the one in the Piazza dell'Unità is among the very few works attributed with some certainty to Andrea himself and seems to date to 1490-1500 allowing us to refer our relief to around the same time.