ROBBIA, Luca della
(b. 1399/1400, Firenze, d. 1482, Firenze)

North Sacristy Doors with the Resurrection

Enameled terracotta and bronze
Duomo, Florence

Luca della Robbia's earliest large enamelled terracotta was the commission in 1442 for the Resurrection relief over the door of the left (north) sacristy of the Florentine Duomo and, therefore, directly under his Cantoria. The stable, symmetrical composition is typical of Luca's work, while the body of Christ, the toga-like drapery, and the armour of the soldiers reveal how fully he had absorbed the classicism already demonstrated in the work of his fellow sculptors.

Two sets of bronze doors for the paired sacristies of Florence Cathedral were commissioned from Donatello in 1437, but because he made little progress, the commission for one set was cancelled and in 1446 awarded to Luca della Robbia, Michelozzo, and Maso di Bartolommeo; the final payment for these doors was not made until 1475, when they were put into place. (Size of the doors: 420 x 200 cm, size of the panels : 53 x 53 cm each.) While the model for the panel of St Gregory the Great on the lower left has been attributed to Maso di Bartolommeo, the other nine were designed by Luca.

The seated figures flanked by angels on the doors include Madonna and Child, the four Evangelists, and five other saints, including the patron of Florence, St John the Baptist.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.