Pietà with Saints
Fra Ambrogio della Robbia, attributed to
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This sculptural group depicts the devotional icon of the Pietà, Mary holding her dead son on her lap, just as she had held him as a baby, with the addition of two saints, probably Mary Magdalene at Christ's feet and the young St. John the Evangelist, who was charged by Christ to take care of his mother. It has been attributed to Fra Ambrogio della Robbia, one of the members of the Della Robbia family who was a devoted follower of the Dominican preacher Girolamo Savonarola, who himself gave Fra Ambrogio his friar's habit. The heavily veiled, stoic looking middle-aged Virgin and the pathos of the arc of Christ's lacerated body could be related to Savonarola's emphasis on Christ's sacrifice and his railing against female vanity. The Della Robbia were famous for their glazed terracotta works, but they also made sculptures of cold-painted terracotta, the medium used here. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.