Luca Della Robbia – Works At Private And Public Sales

Four bas – reliefs were catalogued at the sale at the Palace of S. Donato (near Florence), belonging to Prince Demidoff, as remarkable works of Luca della Robbia and sold as genuine. They were as follows:

No. 374. Bust of S. Jerome.—A circular medallion, in high relief, enwreathed in a garland of fruit. It represented S. Jerome preaching. The head is particularly characteristic. It has a gold aureole. White on blue ground.

No. 375. The Virgin of the Cushion.—Large circular medallion enwreathed in a garland of fruit, in high relief, representing the Virgin sitting and holding the Infant Saviour on a cushion. It had all the characteristics of a work of superior merit. It came from the Cerchi collection in Pescia.

No. 376. Madonna Viviani della Robbia. — This bas-relief was one of Luca’s celebrated works, and went under the name of the ” Madonna of the Apple.» We may assign to it the approximate date of 1449, from the resemblance to other Madonnas wrought by the master at the same period. It remained in the possession of the Marchese Viviani della Robbia till 1879, and in 1880 it figured in the sale of S. Donato.

No. 377. The Adoring Virgin.—A lovely composition in the form of a tabernacle. On both sides were vases from which flowers came forth. Eleven cherubs’ heads were contemplating the Virgin in adoration.

Frescobaldi Madonna.—The Palazzo Frescobaldi in Florence contained a large number of glazed terra-cotta monuments of the Robbia school, but this relief, the finest of them all, passed into the hands of the well-known Florentine art dealer, Signor Bardini. Allan Marquand has assigned to it the approximate date between 1430 to 1440. The child type is like that of the bronze doors of the Duomo, and of the ” Madonna of the Roses” in the Bargello. Gold has been added above the glaze upon the Madonna’s hair and the borders of her robe.

A Madonna attributed to Luca della Robbia was sold in the Odiot Collection in Paris.

From the sacristy of a convent at Pesaro a bas-relief was sold for a small sum to an art dealer of Rome. Being recognised for a genuine work of Luca, it was soon after sold for a large price.

A lunette at Faenza was sold by Count Pasolini for a very small amount, and was re-sold to Baron Rothschild for a very high sum.

A bas-relief which decorated the altar of the Dominicans in Florence was purchased in 1869 by an antiquary of Rome, but it is not known into whose hands it eventually fell.