- Publisher: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Pages: 428
- Illustrations: 307 (272 full-color plates)
- Binding: Clothbound, with jacket
- Dimensions: 9'' x 12 1/4''
- Format: Hardcover
- Authors: Wolfram Koeppe and Annamaria Giusti
- ISBN: 9780300136722
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Derived from ancient Roman decorative stonework, the art of pietre dure was developed in Renaissance Florence, where the manufacture of such objects was enthusiastically sponsored by Medici princes. Ideally suited for ostentatious display, the works sent an unmistakable message of wealth and political might that was understood in centers of power everywhere. From Italy the medium spread across Europe—to Prague, Madrid, Naples, Paris, and later Saint Petersburg. Precious and fragile, pietre dure objects are rarely brought together in large numbers. This richly illustrated catalogue contains more than 150 masterworks from across Europe, dating from five centuries, including almost every artistic use of semiprecious stone during this time as well as some of the finest examples of the medium. Eight essays by European and American experts discuss the individualized development of pietre dure in every European region, the latest developments in scholarship, the interrelationships between art and dynastic politics and between cultures, and a variety of techniques used to produce these luxurious masterworks.
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