On February 5, 2017, the National Gallery of Art inaugurated a new exhibition on three generations of the Italian della Robbia family of master sculptors and their competitors. Luca della Robbia (1399/1400-1482) continuous research on new materials, besides the traditional marble and bronze, brought him to create a new technique that allowed his masterpieces to last several centuries without any deterioration.
The technique is the glazing of terracotta, and it allowed for a durable material like terracotta to be transformed into bright and lasting masterpieces.
When visiting Italy, Americans who were passionate about Italian Renaissance art were also very fascinated by Luca della Robbia’s pieces and managed to purchase many of them. Consequently most of the works on display at the exhibition are from private American collections.
On view will also be The Visitation, the sculpture usually displayed in the San Giovanni Fuorcivitas Church in Pistoia. This work together with three sculptures from the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, and one from the Oratorio di San Tommaso d’Aquino in Florence, are on view, for the very first time outside Italy.
The exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and with the support of the Embassy of Italy in Washington DC. The exhibition in Washington is made possible by Altria Group on behalf of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and by Marchesi Antinori S.p.A.Major support is provided by Sally Engelhard Pingree and The Charles Engelhard Foundation, and the Buffy and William Cafritz Family Foundation.Additional funding is provided by The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art.
The exhibition will be open to the public through June 4, 2017.