Pietra dura table top

Italian, Rome

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 620

This magnificent hardstone (pietra dura) tabletop is notable for the geometric design and central alabaster oval flanked by roundels of marble (breccia di Tivoli). These features are typical of Rome in the years around 1600 and distinguish the tabletop from Florentine examples. Four lapis lazuli bolts hold in place the strapwork cartouches that recall forged iron. The severity of the inner decoration seems to translate jewelry designs from contemporary pattern books while the border of wild animals, blossoms emitting seeds like strings of pearls, leafy scrollwork and floral sprays includes motifs derived from ancient Roman mosaics.

Pietra dura table top, Hardstones, alabaster, and marble (pietra dura); marble frame and walnut stand (replacement), Italian, Rome

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