Pietra Dura” Tabletop, Marble and Hardstones, circa End of the 20th Century



H 1.19 in. x W 47.25 in. x D 47.25 in.


Round tabletop in marbles and hard stones. “Pompanos and grapes”. Inspired by Italian models of the 16th-17th century.
Circular tabletop with a pattern of grape leaves and black and white grapes in the center on a black background. An outer band, marked with two white lines, highlights this element and shows a variegated composition with varied flowers and stems with leaves. This form of inlay, called “hard stone work”, uses marbles of different colors and streaks and stones with a hardness on the scale of Mohs greater than six. The lapis lazuli and black Belgian marble for the backgrounds were used very often and , as it used to happen with these materials, it was necessary to import them, hence the high price that these works acquired. Desks, furniture, vases, plates were made for the high aristocracy and the courts in different European workshops. The technique was born in Florence, thanks to the interest on the part of Piero de Medici and Lorenzo the Magnificent to revitalize a technique of the Roman mosaic (opus sectile). From 1600, naturalistic motifs were preferred over the rest of the subjects and other production centers of great importance were established: in France, the Gobelin Factory; the Royal Workshop of Naples took over from the Florentine when the Medici disappeared; in Spain, Carlos III established another one in the Real Sitio de El Buen Retiro, which disappeared at the beginning of the 19th century. The present example is inspired by this tradition. Compare works preserved in important collections: those preserved in the Museo Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence, the table in the Museo del Prado in Madrid by Francesco Ghinghi in the Real Laboratorio Delle Piedre Dure in Naples (catalog number O00511), or the panel “Parrot perched in a pear tree” created in the workshops of the Grand Duke of Tuscany in Florence and kept in the Moscow Kremlin Museum (Russia).”


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