Luca Della Robbia – Doubtful Works Near Florence

Convent of S. Marco. — A graceful and lovely relief of the Madonna and Child, which Milanesi, Perkins, Barbet de Jouy, and Leader Scott have noted as a genuine work of Luca, and one in his purest style.

Castle of Vincigliata. — Leader Scott, to whom we owe such careful studies in archæology, ascribes to Luca a small statuette in the possession of Mr. Temple Leader, and describes it as follows :—” A very beautiful statuette, the work of Luca della Robbia, representing himself in the costume of a peasant. The pose is simple and graceful, and the modelling pure enough to suggest Luca’s own hand. The face is certainly the same which we see in the portraits of the della Robbia- family painted by Andrea del Sarto in the cloister of the SS. Annunziata, and is precisely the same face of himself he sculptured over the door of the sacristy of the Cathedral in Florence.”

San Casciano. Val di Peso. Church of S. Andrea Corsini.—There is a Madonna very similar to the adoring Madonna of the Bargello which has been catalogued as Luca’s, and we have no reason against assigning it to him. It is full of pious feeling, and has often been reproduced by the Robbia school.

S. Maria in Greve.—Cavaliere Carocci has mentioned the Madonna as a genuine work of Luca, and so did Domenico Moreni in 1792.

Badia a Settimo. The Church.—A frieze of lambs and cherubs, unimpaired by time, which may be considered as an example of Luca’s hand.

Conservatorio della Quiete.—There are on view, in the principal parlour of the Convent, two bas-reliefs and a frieze of cherub heads which formerly was in the Church of Ripoli in Via della Scala. One of these bas-reliefs represents “S. Thomas and the Saviour,” and the other a “Noli me Tangere.” The figures alone are in glazed enamel on a background of trees and animals. It is related that the Government objected to give the permission to the ” Signore di Montalve” to take these reliefs to their convent in the country ; but at last leave was granted, and without delay the Mother Superior had them taken from their places ; but when they were fairly on their way to the Quiete, a counter – order was despatched from Rome, but too, late, so that the nuns still have in their possession these masterpieces which are lawfully their property. Art experts disagree as to their authorship, and Luca’s, Andrea’s, and Giovanni’s names are all mentioned. Follini, Fantozzi, Padre Richa, and other old historians give them as decidedly Luca’s.

Poggio a Cajana. Royal Villa.—Abate Fontana, in his book, ” Viaggio Pittorio della Toscana,” expresses his wonder that this series of bas-reliefs, which all represent pagan subjects, escaped the notice of Vasari and Baldinucci in their writings on Luca della Robbia. According to Abate Fontana, they are most note-worthy and interesting, as clearly revealing Luca’s profound study of the Antique. They have never been mentioned or discussed by any other critic.

Fiesole. Cathedral.-Over the door there is a statue representing S. Romolo, Bishop of Fiesole. He is sitting, clad in his episcopal robes. Round the niche is a garland of fruit and flowers. On the socket the following words are inscribed: ” Sco Romulus Eps Fesvolus.” Above the niche are the arms of the Bishop. Gargani, Cavaliere Carocci, Professor del Rosso and others attribute this statue to Luca ; others name Andrea others Giovanni.

Fiesole. S. M. Rrimerano —A few critics see in this bas-relief a work of Luca della Robbia. It represents the Crucifixion of Christ, with the standing figures of the Virgin, S. John, and Mary Magdalen. There is not in it the beauty of Luca’s other compositions. The figures are heavy, and do not remind us of any of Luca’s crucifixions.

Fiesole. S. Ansano.—The retables of the ” Visitation,” “The meeting of S. John with Jesus,” and the statue of ” S. Ansano,” have often come under Luca’s name. They are certainly works out of the Robbia fabbrica.