The National Gallery of Art, Samuel H. Kress Collection

“The Adoration of the Child,” an unusual glazed terra cotta relief by Andrea della Robbia of Florence (1435–1525), portrays Mary kneeling in worship before her infant son. Two cherubs guard the mother and child; their individuality and innocent expressions suggest that they were modeled after living children. Above Mary’s head is a crown, symbolic of her future role as the Queen of Heaven. The white lilies are also traditional Christian symbols—for Mary’s purity and for the resurrection of Jesus.