Andrea della Robbia
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This glazed terracotta altarpiece of the Ascension was originally made for the high altar of the Chiesa Maggiore of La Verna. Because this space was under the patronage of the Medici family, it is likely that a member of the Medici commissioned the sculpture from Andrea della Robbia. It was moved to its present location, the Ridolfi Chapel, in 1601. On the basis of style, the altarpiece is dated to c.1490; it is the last of the three altarpieces made by Andrea della Robbia for the main church of La Verna. Upon entering this sacred space, a late fifteenth-century or sixteenth-century visitor would have been confronted with an impressive array of glazed terracotta sculptures, their distinctive medium and blue-and-white bichromy serving both to beautify and unify the church interior. In illustrating Christ's departure from the earth, the Ascension thematically completes the Christological narrative begun in the Annunciation and Incarnation altarpieces at either side. The vertical format highlights the disjuncture between the body of Christ, floating in the clouds, and those of his apostles and mother, who remain firmly grounded in a landscape of mountains and trees. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.