Andrea della Robbia
MetadataShow full item record
Andrea della Robbia's glazed terracotta Incarnation of c.1479 adorns the altar of the Brizi Chapel in the Chiesa Maggiore of La Verna. Enshrined within a stone tempietto on the right side of the church, it forms a visual pair with Andrea's Annunciation altarpiece across the nave. Both images celebrate the Virgin's crucial role in Christ's existence. Here, the Virgin's head, turned down to contemplate the body of her Child, is located at the very center of the composition, while the inscription painted in glaze below the image draws further attention to the mother of God: "The word is made flesh through the Virgin Mary." The words expand upon those in the Gospel of John (1.14) by foregrounding the Virgin as the source of Christ's bodily incarnation. While the altarpiece adopts the Della Robbia's signature blue-white bichromy, there is subtle variation in the white tones used for the bodies: the angels and God the Father are glazed in a pure white, while the Virgin and her son, in the foreground, are set apart through the use of a warmer, more yellow tone. As Miller has noted, this difference in tone serves to distinguish the earthly bodies from the more heavenly realm. Andrea's use of glaze also emphasizes the close physical bond between the Virgin and Child, expressing in visual terms the notion of shared flesh signaled by the words beneath the scene. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.