Three Voices: "Adam & Eve" by Workshop of Giovanni della Robbia

May 28

Since their creation during the Italian Renaissance, the glazed terra cotta sculptures, medallions, and friezes of the della Robbia family workshop remain the among most distinguishable ornamentations of Florentine buildings and structures. Whenever we visit the Walters, the first thing we see is the Medici crest, delicate foliage, and characteristically blue, green, yellow, and ivory glazes of the large “Adam and Eve” relief credited to the workshop of Giovanni della Robbia that graces the otherwise-white marble Sculpture Court. It's one of the best and most important pieces in the entire Walters collection, although its origins are still fairly uncertain. The female human head (identical to Eve's) that anthropomorphizes the devious serpent—because, as we all know, women are the devil—is both visually and morally unsettling. That combined with the prudish leaf genital censorship raises questions of the clearly sexist, conservative conditions of the sculpture's creation. Walters conservator Gregory Bailey discusses his discoveries made during recent conservation work with the Walters' curator of renaissance and baroque art, Dr. Joaneath Spicer, and curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Marietta Cambareri. 6:30 p.m., The Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St., (410) 547-9000,, free. (Maura Callahan)

Courtesy of the Walters Art Museum
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