|Roman opus sectile wall panel, about AD 350. Musculature was delineated by |
treating edges of some segments with heat to cause a reddish darkening.
Palazzo Massimo, Roma.
|Above, a wall panel highlighting especially nice stone samples in the border. 1612.|
Below, a tabletop celebrating nature. 1610-20. (Palazzo Pitti, Firenze.)
|Above, stairs to the workshop museum with risers made of rare marbles.|
Below, historic workbenches. At right a wire bow saw is cutting stone inlay.
|Above, the concept painting, stone selections, cutting and inserting subsections.|
At bottom left are hard chalcedony and a softer lead block used with stone dust for polishing.
|Above, some historic saws, files, gouges and boring tools.|
Below, a few of the display cases for exotic stone.
|The Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence retains a large cache of rare|
and semi-precious stone, some collected centuries ago.
|An allegory of painting from 1772. The work on the easel was created|
by placing an actual painting behind an oval of translucent alabaster.
|This corner detail shows how the trompe l'oeil three-dimensional effect|
is created in the frame, with many narrow stone strips in red-brown shades.
|A "Florentine mosaic" showing the Pantheon in Rome. Late 18th century.|
Note how natural patterns in the stone add depth and texture.
|Three views of an exquisite 19th-century tabletop. |
Wonderful flower petal shading and a mottled seashell made from myriad fitted pieces.
|Another tabletop, this one on a porphyry slab. 19th cent.|
|Ebony storage chests similar to this one in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence are surprisingly common in museums. The pictorial panels are matte-finished pietre dure, but the framework is decorated with inlays of dyed wood, ivory and mother-of-pearl.|
|The stunning 'Apollo and the Muses' tabletop in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. 1840.|
|An exuberant 3-D version of the Florence iris, augmented with tulips,|
all carved from solid semiprecious stones.
|The Renaissance patrons of this art loved sampler panels to reveal the richness |
of nature's hidden colors. This little casket is a beautiful variation on that theme.
Museo della Opera (Duomo museo, Firenze)
|Some of the 'left-over' tabletops. Below, two other examples with detail views.|