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Kneeling Pope


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Title/s

Kneeling Pope

Maker/s

Della Robbia, Giovanni style of (workshop) [ULAN info: Italian sculptor and ceramist, 1469-1529]

Ginori family probably (factory) [ULAN info: Italian porcelain manufacturers, 18th-19th cs.]

Category

sculpture

Name

relief

School/Style

Renaissance

Description

Buff, slightly pinkish moulded terracotta, tin-glazed white on the front; dribbles of glaze on the back. Triangular framgent with flat lower edge. The back is hollowed out where it projects at the front. The right edge is smooth and has some cement attached to the middle; the left side has been broken irregularly. Glaze colours: opaque lavender-blue lighter translucent blue, and manganese-purple. A pope, possibly St Gregory, kneels in profile to right. His head is raised and his left hand rests on his chest; his right hand is held just above waist level and originally had the fingers extended. He is bearded and bareheaded; his tiara rests on a bank of clouds behind him and there is another bank of clouds in front of him.

Production Notes

This fragment was accessioned as from the Della Robbia workshop, but although the Pope bears a resemblance to kneeling figures by Andrea Della Robbia, such as the Apostles in his Pentecost of c. 1500-05 in San Matteo, Memmenano,the modelling is much shallower. It may have been made by the Ginori factory at Doccia as it matches the left side of a lunette of the Virgin with a Pope and St Barbara at the former Medici villa at Careggi which was made by Ginori in 1853. That and at least two similar lunettes were commissioned by Francis Joseph Sloane (1795-1871) who acquired the Villa in 1848, and was co-proprietor of a copper pyrites mine at Caporciano where he had excavated a subterranean chapel in which a similar lunette was placed. Another was set on the pediment of the church at Caporciano. The lunette at Careggi has a shield behind the Pope which bears an incorrect rendering of the Ginori arms with the inscription 'Manifattura Ginori 1853' and on the other side behind St Barbara, has a shield with the arms of Sloane and 'Caporciano'. These were among the earliest Della Robbia style reliefs made at the factory which also made reproductions of original works. These lunettes were made in sections, and the curvature in front of the Pope on the Fitzwilliam's fragment is roughly where the division is made on the example at Careggi. If it was made at Doccia, it would appear that the shield behind the Pope was removed in order to conceal the true age of the relief some time before it was sold in 1914.

Production Place

Florence (workshop) (place) ()

Doccia (workshop) (place) ()

Tuscany (factory) (region)

Italy (workshop) (country)

Technique Description

buff, slightly pinkish terracotta, tin-glazed white on the front; dribbles of glaze on the back. Glaze colours: opaque lavender-blue lighter translucent blue, and manganese-purple.

Dimensions

height: (whole): 34.8 cm
width: (whole): 47.7 cm
diameter: (whole): 6.5 cm

Period

mid-19th Century

Date

in or after 1853

Provenance

given: The Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum 1928 (Filtered for: Applied Arts collection)

Formerly Arcangelo Marcioni or Ferdinando Lucatelli of Orvieto; sold Sotheby's, 17th February, 1914, Catalogue of the collections of early Italian pottery formed by Signor Avvocato Marcioni and Cavaliere Capitano Lucatelli of Orvieto, p. 32, lot 317; Sotheby's, 18 June 1928, Continental and English Pottery, lot 29; Alfred Spero, from whom purchased.

Given by the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum

Inscriptions/Marks

  1. label
    Position:
    Method: inscribed in pencil
    Content: 6939
    Description: rectangular with serrated edge on left and a red line printed down that side
  2. label
    Position:
    Method: inscribed in black ink
    Content: ...09
    Description: half an octagonal label with fancy blue printed border
  3. inscription
    Position: on back
    Method: hand-written in pencil
    Content: 317
    Description: lot number in Marcioni-Lucatelli sale in 1914

Documentation

  1. Sotheby's (1914) Catalogue of the collections of early Italian pottery formed by Signor Avvocato Marcioni and Cavaliere Capitano Lucatelli of Orvieto, London [page: p. 32] 17th February 1914)
    [comments: Publ. p. 32, lot 317]
  2. (1929) Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Twentieth Annual Report, 1928, Cambridge (Cambs.)
    [comments: Publ. fig. 7]
  3. Gentilini, Giancarlo (nd (1992)) I Della Robbia. La scultura invetriata nel Rinascimento, Florence: Cantini & C. [page: 246-7]
    [comments: Cf. I, pp. 246-7, kneeling fiure]
  4. Mannini, Maria Pia (1981) Immagini di devozione ceramiche votive nell'area fiorentina dal XVI al XIX secolo, Florence: Electa [page: 85, 107]
    [comments: Cf. catalogue of an exhibition held at the Villa Corsi-Salviati at Sesto Fiorentino, p. 85, for mention of the relief, and p. 107, no. 54, lunette of the Madonna and Child with St Gregory? and St Barbara]

Other Notes

Accession Number

M.2-1928 (Applied Arts)
(Reference Number: 48237; Input Date: 2002-05-29 / Last Edit: 2011-07-22)

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