Man of Sorrows with Adoring Angels
Della Robbia Workshop
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This glazed terracotta lunette was made by a member of the Della Robbia workshop (possibly Giovanni della Robbia) and was previously housed in the Cappella del Noviziato in Santa Croce, now in the Museo di Santa Croce. As is typical of many of the Della Robbia reliefs, the central figures are largely white, set against a blue ground (with the addition here of green for the crown of thorns and purple, imitating porphyry, for the tomb), abstracting and elevating them, whereas the vegetal frame has a naturalistic variety of colours and is modelled in vigorous high relief. In depictions of this subject, the display of Christ's body in the tomb (known as the Man of Sorrows), artists generally emphasize the bleeding, suffering flesh, but here the body is a radiant, bloodless white, smooth and idealized, without sculpted indications of the wounds. The Della Robbia were unable to produce a red glaze, and so red paint may have been added to the cold, slick surface after glazing, which does not survive. Nevertheless, in a time in which devotion specifically to Christ's wounds was popular, and even images of the Resurrection display the wounds, the lack of sculpted indications of the nail holes in the hands and the spear cut in the side is strange. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.