A. Giusti, L'arte delle pietre dure da Firenze all' Europa, Florence, 2005, p.160, fig.134.
A. Giusti, Pietre Dure, L'arte europea del mosaico negli arredi e nelle decorazioni, Turin,1992, p.83, fig. 26.
A. Giusti, P. Mazzoni, A. Pamploni Martelli, Il Museo dell' Opificio delle Pietre Dure a Firenze, Milan,1978, catt. 46-53, pp. 283-284.
Anna Maria Giusti has written a detailed study in Italian of this top dated 18th January 2010, which is available from the department upon request.
This table top incorporating hardstones and softstones on a granite ground includes panels from the Grand Ducal Workshops, Florence. Although there is no doubt that the fourteen panels with landscape views and birds on branches have a quality which suggests they were made by the Grand Ducal Workshop and date from the late 17th century, one cannot be certain as to whether the table top was assembled in Florence or in Rome between the late 17th and 18th centuries.
There are eight panels with landscape views, the sky depicted in Alberese d'Arno and six with birds on branches on an Egyptian granite also known as Granito`del Foro' ground, which are symmetrically displayed within a border of alabastro listato, the latter originating from Asia Minor.
One can make a comparison with other tables from the Grand Ducal Workshops, where the panels are also symmetrically displayed, the most celebrated example being the 17th century octagonal top in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
Perhaps one of the most similar examples, which combines pietre dure panels of landscapes together with those depicting birds on branches, is a Florentine table circa 1730, in the celebrated Florentine Room in the Schloss Favorita, Rastatt.
However, the closest example, especially if one compares the neatness of the composition in the way that the panels are laid out, is the table top in the Château of Versailles, Paris, reproduced here in fig. 1. The panels are well spaced out on the background which is clearly visible.
In order to be able to date the landscape panels, one should consider amongst related examples, the panels on a cabinet in the Villa Poggio Imperiale, Florence, which was already in the Villa in 1691.
These types of landscape panels made in tablet or medallion form continued to be produced in the Grand Ducal Workshops until the end of the Medician era. The Opificio delle Pietre Dure Museum in Florence has eight landscape medallions depicting views similar to those upon this table top.
The taste for panels depicting birds and in particular birds on fruiting and flowering branches in pietre dure was developed earlier than the fashion for landscape panels, as they were already being produced from the second decade of the 17th century, after models by Jacopo Ligozzi (1547–1627), so it is very likely that these panels with birds on the offered table top, were produced before their incorporation into and the completion of the table top itself.
Finally, it was common practice for these precious panels to be produced in a series even before their final destination on furniture, boxes and cabinets was known.
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