(Sojourners) At the National Gallery, a Family History On Display

Three saints. Della Robbia.

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My article “At the National Gallery, a Family History On Display” appears in Sojourners magazine. Here’s the lede:

At first encounter with the National Gallery of Art’s Della Robbia exhibition in Washington, D.C., viewers must look up, heavenward. As if in prayer.

Above the exhibit’s entrance hangs a large terracotta, titled “Resurrection of Christ” (c. 1520-5), a sort of Renaissance jigsaw puzzle, with the trademark Robbia palette of rich greens, yellows, and blues. In the work, the resurrected Christ stands in the center, carrying a standard with a red cross on a white banner, what the Crusaders adopted as St. George’s cross, symbolizing triumph over death. Surrounding Christ, angels fly and Roman soldiers sleep.

And then, at Christ’s right hand, there is a well-dressed man with flowing blond curls and hands clasped in prayer, who is even larger than Jesus. The man is an Antinori, a Florentine wine-making family.

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