The Materiality of Terracotta Sculpture in Early Modern Europe  book cover
1st Edition

The Materiality of Terracotta Sculpture in Early Modern Europe

  • Available for pre-order on June 9, 2023. Item will ship after June 30, 2023
ISBN 9781032355702
June 30, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
312 Pages 26 Color & 94 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $170.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Through meticulously researched case studies, this book explores the materiality of terracotta sculpture in early modern Europe. Chapters present a broad geographical perspective showcasing examples of modelling, firing, painting, and gilding of clay in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. The volume considers known artworks by celebrated artists, such as Luca della Robbia, Andrea del Verrocchio, Filipe Hodart, or Hans Reichle, in parallel with several lesser-studied terracotta sculptures and tin-glazed earthenware made by anonymous artisans. The book challenges arbitrary distinctions into the fine art and the applied arts, that obscured the image of artistic production in the early modern world. The centrality of clay in the creative processes of artists working with two- and three-dimensional artefacts comes to the fore. The role of terracotta figures in religious practices, as well as processes of material substitutions or mimesis, confirm the medium’s significance for European visual and material culture in general. The book will be of interest to scholars working in art history, Renaissance studies, and material culture.

Table of Contents

Introduction Materiality, Scale, and Status of Early Modern Terracotta 

Zuzanna Sarnecka and Agnieszka Dziki

PART I  Material Migrations

1. Materiality as an Incentive to Stylistic Innovation in Earthenware from Bergen op Zoom (15th-16th century)   

Bart van Eekelen 

  2. Making a Virtue out of a Necessity: Lorenzo Mercadante’s Use of Terracotta in Seville Cathedral   

Nicola Jennings

 3. Episodes of the Arts of Fire in Portugal During the Renaissance   

Pedro Flor

 PART II Terracotta and Design     

4. Hans Reichle’s Contribution to the Practice of Terracotta Sculpture in Tyrol   

Francesca Padovani

5. Luca della Robbia’s Labors in Terracotta   

Catherine Kupiec 

6. Clay Models in Verrocchio’s Workshop 

Dylan Smith

7. The Primacy of Terracotta. Sculptures for painting in 16th-century Renaissance Florence 

David Lucidi 

PART III Mimetic Ventures

8. Glazed ornament between architecture and altarpieces: Luca and Andrea della Robbia in Impruneta and Pescia

Federica Carta

 9. The Transformation of Della Robbia Garland Frames: From Luca through Giovanni’s Antinori Resurrection

Roberta Olson

 10. Face, Surface, Interface. Some Observations on Polychrome Florentine Terracotta Busts

Andreas Huth

11. Antonio Begarelli and Small-Scale Terracotta Sculpture

Virna Ravaglia

PART IV Contexts and Values

 12. Della Robbia Sculptures for Florentine Renaissance Convents

Marietta Cambareri

13.  "Ut firmetur quod formatum est"Augustinian Terracottas, and a Note on Two Sculptures from the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts

Marco Scansani

14. The Papal Clay: Firing Terracotta Sculptures in Sixteenth-century Rome

Zuzanna Sarnecka

15. Exceeding Expectations: Antonio Begarelli, his Female Patrons, and the Misunderstood Materialities of White Terracotta

Erin Giffin

16.  New Perspectives for Studies of Renaissance Terracotta Sculpture

 Giancarlo Gentilini

View More



Zuzanna Sarnecka is assistant professor in the Institute of Art History at the University of Warsaw.

Agnieszka Dziki is a PhD candidate in the Institute of Art History at the University of Warsaw.