ROBBIA, Andrea della
(b. 1435, Firenze, d. 1525, Firenze)


c. 1475
Glazed terracotta, 210 x 210 cm
Chiesa Maggiore, La Verna

The La Verna Sanctuary is located on an isolated mountain in the centre of the Tuscan Appenines, rising about 1200 m above the valley of the Casentino. It sits on the site where it's believed that Saint Francis received the stigmata. The monastic complex includes Santa Maria degli Angeli, a small church founded by St Francis in 1218, and the Chiesa Maggiore (Upper Church), which was begun in 1348, but not finished until 1459. The Chapel of the Stigmata was erected in the 1263 near the spot where the miracle took place.

Andrea della Robbia's glazed terracottas at La Verna form an important part of his oeuvre. His work at La Verna began with the Annunciation (c. 1475) and the Nativity (1479) on the altars of the two chapels in the form of aediculae in the Chiesa Maggiore. It continued in the Chapel of the Stigmata with the Crucifixion (c. 1480), and in the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli with the Madonna della Cintola (c. 1486). It was brought to a conclusion with the Ascension (c. 1490) in the Ridolfi Chapel.

Pupils and assistants were involved in the work at La Verna, among them Francesco della Robbia, Benedetto and Santi Buglioni.

The Annunciation scene represents the moment after the announcement when the angel, kneeling in prayer, awaits the response of the Virgin, who bows her head in a gesture of modest reverence. The scene includes a vase containing lilies and the Father who sends the Dove toward the Virgin.