Andrea della Robbia
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This glazed terracotta lunette, now in the portico of the Accademia dei Belli Arti in Florence, was made for Santa Chiara in Florence, a small church which was renovated under the patronage of Jacopo Borgianni starting in 1493. Borgianni was a fervent follower of the Dominican Savonarola but showered his benificence on this Franciscan house perhaps because his sisters were nuns there. This work and the other lunette from Santa Chiara, also now in the portico of the Accademia, were made to be placed above altarpieces by Perugino and Lorenzo di Credi. (The Annunciation now in the cloister of the Ospedale degli Innocenti in Florence was also made around the same time to surmount a painted altarpiece in a church.) The figures are white, set against blue sky and sculpted cloud, and the sarcophagus is articulated with a purple glaze that imitates porphyry, the royal stone. Though Jesus stands still in contrapposto, adored by ranks of angels, the sculpted cloud underneath his feet and askew lid of the sarcophagus suggest his motion in breaking free from the tomb. Andrea was imitating Luca della Robbia's lunette in the Duomo, but he both simplified his uncle's composition by eliminating the plants and the sleeping guard in front, and made it more complex, by doubling the number of angels, and adding decoration and colour to the sarcophagus. Most noticeably, Christ is shown as more muscular, his body animated by a much deeper sway. When these photographs were taken in 2015, a great deal of dirt was visible on the sculptures. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.