Pietre Dure and the Art of Florentine Inlay

Pietre Dure and the Art of Florentine Inlay

  1. Annamaria Giusti
  • ISBN 9780500512975
  • 33.00 x 24.50 cm
  • Hardback
  • 264pp
  • with over 220 colour illustrations
  • First published 2006

This richly illustrated, large-format book tells the fascinating story of a very special artistic phenomenon – pietre dure – illustrating in scores of dazzling photographs outstanding examples, including works designed for the Cappella dei Principi, Florence, and the Schloss Favorite, Rastatt.

Pietre dure, or polychrome hardstone inlay resurfaced in Rome during the Renaissance. Rome fell in love with the evocative power of hardstones inlaid into delicate floral panels or shining out from ovals of opalescent alabaster.

From Rome, pietre dure spread to Florence, where the Medici family founded a prestigious workshop in 1588, using materials such as coral, garnet, jasper and lapis lazuli. The art flourished for three centuries and other workshops were founded at the Court of Rudolf II in Prague, and of Louis XIV in France, before spreading to Naples and Madrid under the Bourbons.

Florentine inlay grew to become a tirelessly imaginative artistic language, capable of imbuing decorative art with the most astonishing beauty and creating masterpieces which still glow as brightly today, long after the fall of their royal patrons.

Annamaria Giusti is Chief Curator, Opificio delle Pietre Dure e Laboratori di Restauro in Florence.