A pietra dura bouquet of flowers set into black slate and mounted as the front of a diptych ormolu Florentine frame, opening to an old photograph.
Pietra dura is an art that flourished in Florence, Italy, particularly in the late 16th and 17th centuries and involved the fashioning of highly illusionistic pictures out of cut-to-shape pieces of colored stone.
Though it’s today one of the lesser-known ‘decorative arts’, the technique of pietra dura is highly prized and widely used, and can be found in settings ranging from antique jewelry boxes to the walls of the Taj Mahal.
The development of the technique – often called ‘painting in stone’ – was one of the many achievements of the Florentine Renaissance, and it has produced some particularly spectacular pieces.
Pietra dura is valued for its ability to combine luxurious materials in novel ways. It is a famously difficult skill to do well and lies somewhere between the arts of sculpture, inlay, and mosaic.
Image size: 3.5 inch by 8 inch
Frame size: 6.625 inch by 11.5 inch