Stemma of the Arte della Lana
Workshop of Andrea della Robbia
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In 1432, Pope Eugenius IV placed the Observant monastery of La Verna under the protection of the Florentine wool guild, the Arte della Lana. Four members of this powerful guild were chosen as conservators, who had the specific task of looking after the Franciscan sanctuary. It was under the Arte della Lana's supervision that the sanctuary's main church was rebuilt, both before and after a devastating fire in 1472. This glazed terracotta roundel by Andrea della Robbia or his workshop depicts the arms of the guild. It is placed in the center of the church's vault, probably as a means of commemorating the guild's oversight of the entire artistic and architectural project. The Arte della Lana also cared for the cathedral of Florence, and in that role awarded numerous sculptural commissions to Andrea della Robbia and his uncle, Luca. The use of the distinctive medium of glazed terracotta throughout the sanctuary of La Verna, therefore, may have been a means of visually stressing both connections between the city of Florence and this remote mountain sanctuary, as well as a way of highlighting the patronage of the Arte della Lana in both locations. Two similar coats of arms, also by Andrea della Robbia, were made for the palace of the Opera of the Duomo in Florence. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.