LUCA DELLA ROBBIA’S style is so sober and contained, so delicate and yet so healthy, so lovely yet so free from prettiness, so full of sentiment and devoid of sentimentality, that it is hard to find words for any critical characterization. The work, exactly suited to its place, leaves little to be said but that it is one of the loveliest inheritances which the Renaissance has bequeathed to us, looking, indeed, says Walter Pater, “as if a piece of the blue sky had fallen down into the streets of Florence” to be fixed above some door or window. Here there is not one bit of the bravura of Verocchio (in his Colleone) or of Pollajuolo (in his papal monuments), none of the “feverish vitality” of Donatello; all is contained and measured, his range of subject like the rest, for Luca varies the latter but little, and sings one long hymn to Madonna, with angels for choristers. . . .
Andrea della Robbia, a little less measured and grave than Luca, is just as lovely. Somewhat more florid, his work is still none too much so to be perfectly decorative. And in looking at his `Annunciation’ of the Innocenti, the children’s heads in his altar-pieces of Arezzo, above all at his lunette over the cathedral door at Prato, one is tempted to set him side by side with Luca, or at the least to call him a most worthy successor.
( Originally Published 1901 )
Masters In Art – Luca and Andera Della Robbia:Masters In Art – Luca And Andera Della RobbiaCavalucci And Molinier – ‘les Della Robbia”vasari’s Lives’Mrs. Oliphant – ‘the Makers Of Florence’Marcel Reymond – ‘les Della Robbia’Walter Pater – ‘the Renaissance’The Works Of Luca And Andrea Della Robbia