Sunday, August 23, 2020

Italian street shrines

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Pietre Dure: the art of hard stones

Florence offers a  view into the ancient art of
Pietre Dure

Not a painting.    Stone Art

   Museo Opificio delle Pietre Dure

Via degli Alfani 78 - 50121 Firenze
Perhaps more familiar are the artistic techniques of mosaic, using small pieces of cut stone or marquetry, applying pieces of wood veneer to form patterns and pictures, but Pietre Dure is celebrated in Florence.
The museum is housed in a renovated, historic building that wraps around a central garden.   The traditional floor plan was altered exposing a 2 story gallery from the entrance of the museum.

Without the large crowds in other museums, you can enjoy your visit at your own pace.  There was no tour offered and the signage is mostly in Italian.  However,  in every room there were laminated information sheets for visitors to use as they examine the pieces in each room.   

But you may be too busy marveling at the colors and intricate designs on the tables, bowls and vases to read the descriptions supplied.     The walls are covered with stone 'paintings'.  From a distance they appear to be painted figures, animals and lush forest scenes.  But everything is created with very thin pieces of stone that fit together like a puzzle.

Some of the typical motifs used

The second floor houses the ancient machinery and tools that are used to create Pietre dure art. A  film explained the process simply and described how designs are created, patterns made and stone cut to fit exactly into each pattern.  The museums' You Tube posts gives you close up, color views 

For details on this detailed process another  You Tube  video covers  the process from selection of each stone, cutting and fitting into the intricate pattern to the final touches.

You get see the tools employed in the cases as well as stone samples.

This wooden vice holds a very thin slice of marble.   A wire saw will cut out the next design
piece that will be added to the outline

Most walls are covered with works that appear to be paintings but are ALL completed with different colored stone to create each piece.  The work is seamless with no indication that it is not one single piece of stone.

Check with the museum for open days and times.

 Museo Opificio delle Pietre Dure  Via degli Alfani 78 - 50121FFirenze