Nativity with Gloria in Excelsis

Italian (Florence)
about 1470
Luca della Robbia (Italian, Florence, 1399 or 1400–1482)

Object Place: Europe, Florence, Italy


Overall: 88.9 × 73.7 × 20 cm (35 × 29 × 7 7/8 in.) Framed (Rectangular steel pan shaped frame/ two wall cleats): 89.5 x 74.3 x 5.7 cm (35 1/4 x 29 1/4 x 2 1/4 in.) Diameter and weight: 80.29 kg (177 lb.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Glazed terracotta

On View

Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)





Glazed terracotta; blue ground, white figures; slight green and yellow color.

The large size of this relief suggests it was made as an altarpiece for a chapel. Because of its size, the piece was made in several, easily discernible pieces that would have been easier to fit into a kiln. The sections were then assembled, to be held together by the frame. The scroll bears singable music and text for the liturgical prayer that begins Gloria in excelsis deo, or ‘Glory to God in the highest,” evoking the sound of music for the viewer.


By 1896, Quincy Adams Shaw (b. 1825 - d. 1908), Boston; 1917; gift of Quincy A. Shaw, through Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr., and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 29, 1917)

Credit Line

Gift of Quincy Adams Shaw through Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr., and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton