Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence
- Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence
- Marietta Cambareri
- 12 September 2018 Marietta Cambareri
La familia Della Robbia brill dentro del arte florentino del renacimiento gracias a la belleza de sus esculturas en terracota esmaltada o vidriada , generalmente de tem tica religiosa, con la que adornaron numerosas iglesias y edificios importantes de su poca Este libro, con texto exclusivamente en ingl s, es el cat logo de la exposici n realizada en 2016 en el Museum of Fine Arts de Boston sobre la obra de estos artistas Con edici n muy cuidada tapa dura con sobrecubierta, excelente papel, buena calidad de impresi n, formato cuadrado, con un tama o aproximado de 26 x 26 cm , incluye un estudio de la experta Marietta Cambareri sobre los Della Robbia, centrado, m s que en su biograf a, principalmente en la t cnica usada en sus obras, materiales, una descripci n de las circunstancias y caracter sticas de las piezas m s importantes de la exposici n, o la acogida de su trabajo como fue olvidado con el tiempo hasta revalorizarse de nuevo a partir del siglo XIX con un apartado especial dedicado a la difusi n tard a del mismo en los USA El texto va acompa ado de numerosas fotograf as de las obras expuestas, a todo color, y en su inmensa mayor a a toda p gina Aproximadamente la mitad de las p ginas del libro son fotos, realmente soberbias Es por tanto un libro muy recomendable para los admiradores de estos grandes artistas, pese a su elevado precio que puede reducirse si usas uno de los vendedores alternativos de , considerablemente m s baratos. The glazed terracotta technique invented by Luca della Robbia, along with his exceptional skill as a sculptor, placed him firmly in the first rank of Renaissance artists in the fifteenth century This quintessentially Florentine art taking the form of dazzling multicoloured ornaments for major buildings, delicately modelled and ingeniously constructed freestanding statues, serene blue and white devotional reliefs, charming portraits of children, and commanding busts of rulers, along with decorative and liturgical objects flowed in abundance from the Della Robbia workshops for a hundred years Developed further by each generation, the closely held technique achieved new heights of refinement and durability in modelling and colour, combining elements of painting and sculpture into a new and all but eternal medium In the th century, revived interest in the Renaissance and in the Della Robbia brought their works into major collections beyond Italy, particularly in England and the United States Recently, renewed attention from art historians, backed by sophisticated technical studies, has reintegrated the Della Robbia into the mainstream of Renaissance art history and illuminated their originality and accomplishments This beautifully illustrated book invites readers to experience one of the great inventions of the Renaissance and the enduring beauty it captured In this book you have beautiful color photos Fine paper and well documented text If you like high quality art, try it. impeccable Un tr s beau livre sur un sujet rarement trait. This beautiful book accompanies the exhibition of the same name at Boston s Museum of Fine Arts from August to December 2016 and then at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C from February to June 2017 It does not have the usual exhibition catalogue format of scholarly essays followed by a section of commented plates of exhibited objects Rather, in a series of essays, the primary author of the catalogue, Marietta Cambareri, the MFA s Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture, discusses general topics such as Luca della Robbia s 1400 1482 invention of a process of color glazing terra cotta around 1440, when he was already an established and sought after Florentine sculptor in marble his subsequent devotion to refining and expanding his technique and the establishment with his nephew of what became a highly successful studio business the influence of classical models on the studio productions the manufacture of domestic sculpture along with their chief activity, which was the creation of religious items for clerical commissions and Della Robbias in the New World, a final chapter dealing with the rediscovery of this art in the nineteenth century and the increasing interest of connoisseurs and collectors outside Italy, and especially in the U.S One fascinating aspect of that discussion is the way the objects gained cachet and aesthetic seriousness as they were increasingly recognized by scholars and curators as being legitimate pieces of sculpture and not merely ceramics the degree to which American collectors took special interest in this work is indicated by the fact that, of the twenty three institutional lenders to the exhibition, only four are not American, those four being Italian Although this is the first American exhibition dedicated to the glazed terra cotta sculpture of the Della Robbia, Dr Cambareri s book is than an introduction it amounts, rather, to a comprehensive survey of the Della Robbia family and the activities of their workshop over the span of three long lived generations and about 100 years 1440 s to 1550 s when their new and proprietary method of firing the glazed terra cotta came into great demand and became highly influential before eventually, inevitably, losing favor to other artistic mediums Some other workshops which were inspired and influenced by the Della Robbia, such as those of the Buglioni family and Giovanni Francesco Rustici are also mentioned and illustrated when appropriate There are no numbered plates, but the 108 illustrations in the curatorial list most of which are reproduced full page and with superb clarity and color are arranged in the order in which they are discussed in Dr Cambareri s text, so that one can read easily from page to page without flipping back and forth between text and illustrations There are also about eighteen full bled enlargements, which are wonderful for bringing the surfaces warts and all into sharp focus The text itself is clear and conversational, completely free of scholarly jargon and very easily approachable by the non specialist Some catalogues can be a bit stressful to read through, but this one is a relaxing and engaging experience.One feature which will be very welcome to those who know little about terra cotta, firing, glazing or other procedures of ceramics, is the technical essay by Abigail Hykin, an Objects Conservator at the MFA, who explains clearly and in detail the various materials and methods involved in the production of these sculptures According to the editor, this essay is the first in English to present a synthetic overview of the materials and manufacturing practices used in the studio, and it benefits from a good deal of recently discovered information and international collaboration Many readers tend to skip over the increasingly common and now virtually de rigueur conservatorial essays in catalogues because of the technical demands they make, but this is an excellent example of why even the scientifically challenged should pay attention chemical and physical analysis of the clay, glazes, etc is highly pertinent to the dating of works especially in the case of a hundred year bottega , thus to attribution, and thus to constructing a picture of the aesthetic history of the tradition, the place and value of an individual contribution, and finally to a deeper understanding of the work itself Almost everyone who has seen some Italian Renaissance art has seen some Della Robbias, most probably by Luca or his nephew and successor Andrea, and will recognize the familiar scintillating white on startling blue reliefs, but it may come as a surprise to encounter the much wider range of subjects, styles, colors, etc presented by the exhibition To see so much of this art together is to understand why it was so powerfully influential and attractive at its time and why we still have designers describing their styles and products as la Della Robbia despite the brilliant innovation of the new glazing technique and the workshop s very adroit marketing strategies, its products would never have been so successful had it not been for the fact that Luca and Andrea not to speak of Andrea s sons Giovanni, Luca, Marco, and Girolamo, who carried on the tradition into the third generation were both brilliant sculptors It must be one of the most intriguing and fateful twists of Western art history that Luca, who had already worked for several years on the extremely prestigious and valuable commission for the Cantoria the organ loft in the Florence cathedral, with its elegant carving style and phenomenally naturalistic joyously dancing children certainly one of the wonders of Renaissance marble sculpture turned his attention in mid career to glazing terra cotta Had he not done so, he may well have become a marble artist worthy of mention in the same breath as Michelangelo But it is certain that some of the faces and figures he and Andrea created in terra cotta, some of the Madonnas and secular portraits represented in this exhibit, for example, are among the most stunningly beautiful creations of the fifteenth century in any medium The modeling of the Virgin s facial features in Andrea s Madonna and Child Madonna of the Architects, 1475 or in Luca s Madonna and Child with Lilies c 1460 70 is, to me at least, unsurpassed by anyone at any time This is not the Della Robbia book for art historians, but it is probably all the average aficionado of Renaissance art will ever need in terms of general information, and it is a wonderful collection of gorgeous art that ought to be far better known If you can t see the exhibit either in Boston or Washington, be assured that the catalogue is a good second best and that you can purchase it with confidence Don t miss it. If you can t make the exhibit, but are interested in, or love Della Robbia, this is a fabulous book There are details about production, development of the style, glazes, uses in architecture it s a really great well researched book I also learned through a podcast about the exhibit that the curators are also constantly learning They put the pieces for the cover photo together in a way that made sense to them, then took the photo Sometime later they looked on the back of the pieces, only to discover that they had ordered the border incorrectly too late to make the change in the print version of the book It s a lovely book and well worth the price Beautiful and well written book about one of the lesser known gems of the Florentine Renaissance Although Della Robbias all all over Florence and other Tuscan and Umbrian churches and museums, most people have really never seen them This book covers the 2016 exhibit at the MFA in Boston, and traveliing to other museums One of the amazing things about these gorgeous Dell Robbias, is that they look like they are brand new although they are about 500 years old The quality of the photo reproductions is outstanding. Beautiful, informative guide to a once in a lifetime exhibit One caution you have to be alert to the fact that many large, handsome illustrations show items not in the exhibition at all neither in Boston nor in DC Once understood, however, this is a huge plus.