Originals, or facsimiles?

You stood in line for a long, long time with the aim of gazing at the wonder that is David, sculpted by Michelangelo.  Having achieved this goal,  you leave the Gallery dell’Accademia, and turn to your right, just to see what is a little further down this street. You may notice a doorway like this, tucked inside a colonnaded building. It is part of the University of Florence.


One of the schools housed here is that of the Academy of the Arts of Drawing.


Another is the Academy of Fine Arts and Artistic High School.


And, finally, the Faculty of Architecture.


What really attracted my attention were these terracotta semi-circles above the doors. Are they really della Robbia*, or facsimiles?




Does anyone happen to know if they are originals?

(*) della Robbia: when you are thinking of glazed terracotta, this surname can refer to Luca, who developed the technique, his nephew Andrea or great-nephew Giovanni. 

Here is an example of a work by Andrea della Robbia, which you can see on the façade of the Ospedale degli Innocenti, Piazza SS Annunziata in Florence.




Filed under Florence

24 responses to “Originals, or facsimiles?

  1. The child wrapped in apparent gauze clearly has a mummy fixation much like The one I had for superman 😳🙄🙀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Liz

    Very beautiful thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well this sent me on a wild goose chase. When I was about fifteen I spent a fortnight in Florence with my mother, we tramped round every gallery and wandered the streets. I have found my favourite old guide book (in French(?), no index, full of notes) but can’t track down your della Robbias. We used to collect them on buildings and this was in the early 1960s. I guess many reproductions were made in the C19th, so there is no way of knowing. Originals are likely to have to odd chip on them… but restorations are very good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello from Down Under, Hilary. Thank you for trying to find out more about those ceramics. If we ever get back to Florence, we’ll have to ask someone in that building. Chances are they won’t know, either.


  4. Even if they are copies, they are still beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What gets me is that there was all this beautiful stuff being made and Australia wasn’t even discovered back then except for the aborigines who had been here for 40000 years until we came and nearly wiped them out.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, how wonderful and beautiful! I would imagine they ARE the real thing! 🙂 When I see original pieces of famous or well know art: paintings, sculptures, etc., I often cry. I stand there thinking about the person who created them, wondering what they felt and thought about while creating, the fact that they touched those very pieces, etc., and I am overcome with joy! SIGH.
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. To live among that beauty…oh my! I hope they never take it for granted. Art, at every turn, weathered by elements that strangely added a touch grace to its spectacle.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t know for certain, but I suspect not. There were many copies and “in the manner of” Della Robbia made in the 19th century and later to accompany all of the neo-Renaissance architecture in that city in modern times.
    I may be mistaken, but I believe there is a catalogue raissone for Della Robbia, which would be the best source for cracking this puzzle.
    Of course, as others have said, they are indeed beautiful.


  9. No clue, but they’re gorgeous, aren’t they? I bet they’re the real thing!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The terracotta semi-circles are so lovely.


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