Virgin and Angels Adoring the Christ Child

Luca della Robbia, Italian (active Florence), 1400 - 1482. Perhaps assisted by Andrea della Robbia, Italian (active Florence), 1435 - 1525. Frame attributed to Andrea della Robbia, Italian (active Florence), 1435 - 1525.

Made in Florence, Italy, Europe

c. 1460-1470s

Glazed earthenware

Diameter: 65 3/4 inches (167 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

* Gallery 251, European Art 1500-1850, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund from the Edmond Foulc Collection, 1930

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Round reliefs of the Adoration were sometimes placed in Florentine Renaissance bedchambers. If such was the original location of this masterpiece, the patron must have been an important one. The collector Edmond Foulc added the decorative frame in the late nineteenth century.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    Luca della Robbia's sculptures, especially of the Virgin and Child, are among the best-loved works of art of the Renaissance. He was especially adept at creating compositions in the circular format known as the tondo, a demanding form explored by the most ambitious artists of the time. Here the Virgin appears in front of angels, one of whom holds a scroll proclaiming Gloria in excelsis Deo. The subject of the relief, the incarnation of God into man, is simply and effectively conveyed by the convincing naturalism of the infant Jesus, who makes a dignified blessing gesture mature beyond his years. Primarily blue and white, this work was probably originally more brilliant, with gold rays behind the Virgin, whose hair and robe also had gilded decoration. The collector Edmond Foulc added the ceramic border of plants and fruits from the workshop of Luca's nephew Andrea. There is no early history for this important sculpture, but recent research reveals that a tondo of the Virgin and Child often decorated the bedchambers of well-to-do citizens of Florence. Dean Walker, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 113.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.