Dovizia

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Authors
Della Robbia workshop, possibly Fra Mattia (Marco) della Robbia
Keyword
Dovizia , Abundance , Fruit , Goddess
Abstract
This glazed terracotta statuette depicts a female allegory of abundance, known as Dovizia in Italian. The woman wears a clingy, revealing dress reminiscent of an ancient goddess, and she stands confidently, balancing an overflowing basket of produce on her head. The figure imitates a now-lost sandstone sculpture, made by Donatello around 1430, that stood atop a column in the marketplace of Renaissance Florence. Both the Della Robbia and Buglioni workshops created colourful glazed terracotta reductions modeled after Donatello's Dovizia: at least ten survive. The sculptures were probably made in the first decades of the sixteenth century, although none are clearly documented. Their smaller sizes would suggest that they were made for domestic settings: Adrian Randolph has proposed that, in this context, the Dovizia might be intended as a household deity, similar to the lares of ancient Rome, serving to celebrate and promote a family's own wealth and fertility. Both Allan Marquand and Giancarlo Gentilini attribute the Casa Buonarroti version to Fra Mattia (Marco) della Robbia: they point to the woman's tall, slender body, and the linear folds of the drapery as characteristic of this individual artist's style. However, we have just one clearly documented surviving sculpture by Fra Mattia (a late work, made when he was living in a different region of Italy) in existence, and he is known to have collaborated extensively with family members, making connoisseurship extremely difficult. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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