Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well

c. 1500–1530
(Italian, 1469–1529/30)
Overall: 221 x 177.8 x 27.9 cm (87 x 70 x 11 in.)
Location: not on view
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Did You Know?

The Samaritan woman’s bust was replaced by a reproduction before entering the museum’s collection.

Description

This sculptural relief belongs to a large series made for the Franciscan friary of San Vivaldo (founded 1350) in the Tuscan hills southwest of Florence. The friary was enlarged between 1500 and 1530 when 32 chapels were built, each dedicated to an incident in the life or Passion of Christ. San Vivaldo became a recognized pilgrimage site thematically linked to the holy sites of Jerusalem. Each single chapel at San Vivaldo was embellished with colorful terracotta sculptures produced by the Della Robbia workshop in Florence. This relief representing Christ and the Samaritan Woman was originally installed within the Chapel of the Samaritan Women. Over time the chapel fell into disrepair and eventually became the friar's wash house. The sculpture was sold by the friary in the early 1900s to fund repairs to the various chapels. The fine modeling of the heads of Christ and the Apostles and of the landscape masses gives an indication of the original quality of this badly damaged relief sculpture. The animation of the faces and complexity of the composition suggest that it was made under the supervision of Giovanni rather than by some lesser member of the Della Robbia workshop.
Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well

Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well

c. 1500–1530

Giovanni della Robbia

(Italian, 1469–1529/30)
Italy, Tuscany, Florence, 16th century

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