Virgin and Child with Saints Cosmas and Damian
Andrea della Robbia
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This glazed terracotta altarpiece by Andrea della Robbia was commissioned by Francesco Sassetti for his chapel in the Badia Fiesolana. The reconstruction of the Badia was financed by Cosimo de' Medici and completed in 1466. This altarpiece likely dates to around the same year, making it one of the earliest altarpieces created by the Della Robbia workshop. It depicts the Virgin and Child flanked by the Medici patron saints Cosmas and Damian, and this imagery must have been intended to honor not only the titular saints of the chapel which Sassetti had been granted, but also the close personal and business ties between the Sassetti and Medici families. God the Father appears in the tympanum, flanked by two angels, while three scenes in the predella depict the Annunciation, Nativity, and Adoration of the Magi. The altarpiece was moved to the high altar of the oratory of the Florence Misericordia in 1812. Sassetti commissioned another glazed terracotta altarpiece (c. 1470) by Andrea for a chapel at his villa in Montughi, outside Florence (now in the Bode-Museum, Berlin). Andreas Huth has highlighted the intentional similarity in structure, composition, and imagery in these two altarpieces, arguing that the sculptures were meant to highlight Sassetti's unending loyalty to his close supporter, Cosimo il Vecchio de' Medici. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.