Art of the Royal Court: Treasures in Pietre Dure from the Palaces of Europe

Koeppe, Wolfram, ed., and Anna Maria Giusti with contributions by Cristina Acidini, Rudolf Distelberger, Detlef Heikamp, Jutta Kappel, Florian Knothe, and Ian Wardropper (2008)

This title is out of print.

College Art Association Alfred H. Barr Jr. Book Award, Finalist (2008)

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Art of the Royal Court: Treasures in Pietre Dure from the Palaces of Europe

This is the most comprehensive exhibition to date on the tradition of hardstone carving (pietre dure) that developed in Italy in the sixteenth century and subsequently spread through Europe. Renaissance masters working in Rome cut colored marbles and laid them in geometrically patterned tabletops, such as the celebrated Farnese Table in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, while Milanese artisans preferred to cut designs in rock crystal, lapis lazuli, and other precious materials. In Florence, the passion of the Medici for importing precious stones led to Ferdinando I de' Medici's founding of the court workshops that still survive as the Opificio delle Pietre Dure. Royal patronage encouraged Florentine craftsmen to migrate to Prague, and their practices gradually spread to such centers as Augsburg, Paris, Madrid, and Saint Petersburg. Some 150 tables, cabinets, caskets, jewelry, vases, and sculptures represent the range of this extraordinary art form cultivated by the courts of Europe through four centuries...