Virgin and child with lilies

Italian (Florence)
about 1460–70
Attributed to Luca della Robbia (Italian, Florence, 1399 or 1400–1482)

Object Place: Italy


Overall: 48 x 38cm (18 7/8 x 14 15/16in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Glazed terracotta

On View

Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)





Blue, white and green with gold halos. Terracotta.

Luca della Robbia was famous for the invention and perfection of glazed terra cotta sculpture. This technique allowed the sculptor to model in the inexpensive medium of clay. Firing in a kiln imparted durability to the clay and additional firing with pigmented tin glazes achieved a lasting brilliance and purity of color. The della Robbia family workshop produced many reliefs representing the Virgin and Child: this one shows Mary as the Madonna of Humility, with the Christ Child reaching out for lilies, a symbol of the Virgin’s purity.


Quincy Adams Shaw (b. 1825 - d. 1908), Boston [see note 1]; 1917, gift of Quincy Adams 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