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Micro Mosaic & Pietra Dura Image Library
Welcome to the Micro Mosaic and Pietra Dura Image Library, where you can find pictures of many of the fabulous items in the Gilbert Collection, and other famous collections. Jeanette has provided wonderful narration to illuminate the historical context in which these pietra dura artisits labored as well as the artist's contributions to the craft.
scene depicts Cupid surrounded by animals sacred to divinities
associated with the 8 planets: ox for Saturn, hound for Diana the Moon, wolf
for Mars the warrior, eagle for Jupiter and rulers, the ram for
Mercury and artisans, the griffin of Apollo and artists, the mare of
Ceres (the earth) and farmers, and the dove of Venus and poets.
This is one of a pair of floral still lives probably copied from originals by the famous mosaicist Barberi (1787-1867), and were probably taken from paintings by 17th century Dutch Masters.
Illustrated in Gabriel, 2000, No.91
Petersburg, Micromosaic, 1834
Wekler this miniature for the Russian Imperial family after a painting by d'Hondecoeter (1636-1695). Wekler was discovered in Russia where he was painting eggs in a glass shop. He was trained in mosaic art by Italian mosaicist Moglia, eventually becoming mosaic master of the Russian Court.
Illustrated in Gabriel, 20000, No.40
Tigress - Detail
After George Stubbs painting of 1768
Venice, Micromosaic, late nineteenth century
(20 x 26 in; 50.8 x 66 cm)
Stubbs was commissioned in 1762 to paint this tigress at the menagerie of Blenheim Palace. It was a gift to George Spencer, fourth Duke of Marlborough, from Lord Clive, Governor of Bengal. The naturalism of the tigress’ fur displays the potential of mosaic for naturalistic representation.
Illustrated in Gabriel, 2000, No.56
WITH HEAD OF BACCHUS
Micromosaic, Vatican c. 1880
Signed Luigi Tarantoni R.F.S.P.V.
(18 5/8 x 10 5/8 in; 47.4 x 27 cm)
Most of Tarantoni’s mosaics depict cavaliers, a popular subject which emerged in late nineteenth century art and literature in the in response to the public’s hunger for romanticism. His colorful and romantic historical figures were based on characters inspired by writers such as Alexandre Dumas (1802-70) author of The Three Musketeers, Man in the Iron Mask and The Count of Monte Cristo.
We must remember that micromosics were copied from paintings. A major originator in this type of historic subject matter was the French painter, etcher and lithographer Ernest Meissonier (1815-91). His thrilling compositions served as models for artists in many media throughout Europe.
The letters R.F.S.P.V. after Tarantoni’s signature on the bottom right of the picture stands for Reverend Fabbrica de S. Pietro in Vaticano, indicating the mosaic was made at the workshop of St. Peter’s basilica at the Vatican, where Tarantoni worked in the late nineteenth century. The coat of arms in the uppr left has not been identified. Illustrated in Gabriel, 2000, No. 65
After the Painting by Carl L.. F. Becker (1820-1900)
Micromosaic, Rome or Venice, after 1890
(A. Gallus, 28 x 332 5/8 in; 71 x 83 cm)
It is rare to find a mosaic with subject matter from Shakespeare. This mosaic is further unusual in being unpolished, that is, the tesseerae are rough, possibly to create a play of light upon the surface of the picture. This was characteristic of some Venetian mosaics, but examples are also found from the Vatican studio.
Illustrated in Gabriel, 2000, No. 64.
Illustrated in Gabriel 2000, No.2
MICRO MOSAIC TABLE
BIRD MICROMOSAIC: DETAIL OF TABLETOP
Micromosaic, Rome, 1839
Signed Camillo Poggioli
(Diameter of Tabletop: 31 in ; 78.7 cm)
The mosaic image here is a detail taken from the center of a mosaic tabletop whose theme is the Four Seasons, with flowers and fruit representing Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Two birds are shown: the larger is a European Bee eater, a species frequently found depicted in arts, particularly in pietra dura or Florentine hardstone panels; the smaller bird, a European Goldfinch, has been utilized for centuries in paintings, particularly during the Renaissance when it was a symbolof the air or of touch. The realistic texture of the birds’ feathers demonstrates the potential of micromosaics for naturalistic representation in art. The composition is signed in tesserae, Poggiolo f. 1839 in Roma [Poggioli made it in 1839 in Rome].
Illustrated in Gabriel, 2000, No. 51
TABLE WITH GODDESS HEBE
Micromosaic & Gilded Rosewood, 1805
The Empress, Josephine of France, had this table at her chateau, Malmaison. Represented is Hebe, Goddess of Youth and cup-bearer to the gods. This image is based on the statue by Antonio Canova now at the Hermitage Museum. Belloni came from Rome to open a royal mosaic workshop in France under Napoleon, producing mosaic decorations for the royal residences.
ALBANIAN FOLK WOMAN
Micromosaic, c. 1850
Private Collection, Florida
SPANIEL IN LANDSCAPE
A RURAL SCENE
Micromosaic, c. 1850
This charming scene is an alegory of love, which depicts two young women in the doorway of a farmhouse. The courting doves, ripe produce, blooming roses, and the large vessel (symbolic of virginity) are characteristic devices symbolic of love.
SOUVENIR OF ROME
Micromosaic, c. 1855
Framed by foliage are the Coliseum in moonlight on the left and St. Peter's Piazza on the right, separated by the Pincio Fountain. In the center foreground is a stone with the words, "Ricordo di Roma". This picture is based on a design for a table by the famous mosaicist Michelangelo Barberi which was commissioned by the Duke of Palmella.
Gabriel, 2000, No. 34
Interior of Capucin Convent
Micromosaic, c. 1825
Formerly in the collection of czar Nicholas I, of Russia, this mosaic is modeled on a painting by Francois Marius Granet (1775-1849). The painting was acquired by Alexander I (1801-1825) of Russia, and hung in the winter palace in St. Petersburg. Wekler, the court mosaicist, was commissioned by the czar to product this micromosaic version in 1825. He was rewarded with a large bonus and a diamond ring.
Illustrated: Gabriel, 2000, No. 38
RUINS OF PAESTUM - DETAIL
c 1830, Gioacchino Rinaldi
x 65 in; 50 x 164 cm)
executed at least six of these enormous views of Paestum after a painting
by the Russian artist Feodor Matveev. Each is each said to have taken take
five years to complete. Moglia also did a version of Paestum which was
shown at London’s Great Exhibition of 1851. Paestum was an ancient Greek
colony in south-east Italy which was rediscovered in the eighteenth
Silver-gilt and enamel
1/4 x 4 in.; 23.5 x 10 cm)
ecclesiastical vessel is in the Gothic revival style, with reserves of
micromosaics depicting Christian symbols, Christ and the four apostles.
The tessearae are shiny in the historicizing fashion of Christian
Byzantine mosaics. Inv. No
Illustrated in Gabriel 2000, No. 325
hardstone and gold, Rome c. 1820
½ x 2 1/8 x 7/8 in; 9 x 5.4 x 2.2 cm)
mosaic scene is in the tradition of seventeenth century Arcadian
landscapes by painters such as Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorraine, whose
classical subjects had a revival in the late eighteenth and early
nineteenth century neo-classical period.
glass and gold, Rome c 1815-25
x 1 in; 20.5 x 4 cm)
of peasants in regional costumes were popular subjects for micromosaics
but are found less frequently than some mosaic subjects. It was commons
for small mosaic to be set into colored glass such as the blue glass
utilized in this colorful bracelet.
gold, enamel and pearls, Rome c 1850
23 in; 58.4 cm)
or Amorini were emblems of love, and were inspired by wall paintings
discovered in the second half of the eighteenth century in ancient ruins
such as those at Herculaneum and Pompeii.
Illustrated in Gabriel 2000, No.180
mosaic and gold
Necklace: 17 1/4 In; 45 cm)
1870 a revival of historical and archaeological styles emerged in jewelry
which utilized images and techniques from past cultures. Early Christian
religious mosaics of glass were an inspiration for the design of this
jewelry suite which uses symbols such as the chi-rho and the dove, both
symbols of Christ.
Illustrated in Gabriel 2000, No.
MINIATURE GLASS MOSAIC BROOCHES
glass mosaic, 20th Century
After the decline of high quality micromosaics, a tourist industry developed which produced mosaic jewelry and "smalls", even to this day. These piece, made after about 1900, are a genre of their own. For the most part, they are crudely executed, unpolished, and use relatively large glass tesserae, set into rope-twist wire and metal mounts. In the current market they are incorrectly referred to as "Micromosaics". Here are some examples purchased on the Internet for around $10.00 U.S. each.
in Gabriel, 2000, No. 53.
© 2002 Jeanette Hanisee Gabriel, All Rights Reserved. Images ©2002 Gilbert Collection unless otherwise noted.