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Created by Andrea della Robbia in 1475, the circular relief of Prudence, executed in tin-glazed terracotta, exemplifies an intrinsic relationship to religion, morals, and virtues in both medium and subject matter, typical of Renaissance Art. From the development of the della Robbia family workshop, to modern conservation efforts, the della Robbia tin-glazed terracotta method elucidates a timeless and extreme dedication to moral values. The inherent humility of the terracotta, a simple clay dug from the earth, had been recognized even before Andrea created Prudence by close followers of the Christian faith. Not only were the basic elements of Prudence high in moralistic value, but this work was also created as a reminder to follow the virtues set in place by Christian doctrine. In this paper, I use formal and iconographic analysis alongside contemporary conservation reports on this work to help us understand the intricate layers and humble meaning literally baked into the terracotta medium, the ethereal and divine sheen of the glaze, and the reverence the figures hold in communicating virtues.


Undergraduate Research Awards - 2022 Finalist, FY/Sophomore category