Madonna Adoring the Child

This glazed terracotta relief (in the Museo di San Matteo in Pisa) is one of many made by Andrea della Robbia and his workshop of the Virgin Mary adoring her child, though this is the only known example of this particular version with three cherubs behind and Jesus holding a banderole. On the banderole is inscribed "EGO SUM LUX MUNDI" (I am the light of the world), the text from the prologue of the Gospel of John that seems particularly appropriate to the brilliant, reflective white glaze used by the della Robbia. The same words are, in fact, inscribed on other works by Andrea and his uncle Luca. Adding to the brilliance of the scene is gilding which is applied to the cold, already glazed surface and so rarely survives, here visible in the haloes, the border of Mary's dress, and the angels' wings. The figures and the green grassy mound on which the classically-inspired baby reclines overlap in front of the egg-and-dart frame, bringing Mary and Jesus into the viewers' space. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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