The present panel finds comparisons in two further plaques which depict Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, the first in the Museo del Prado, Madrid (published in Gonzalez-Palacios, 2003, op. cit., no. 8) and the other sold in these rooms on 10 July 2014, lot 122. The Madrid panel has been dated to the early 17th century by Alvar Gonzalez-Palacios; it includes a cartouche centred by a figure of Fame attributed to Bernardino Poccetti who worked on the altar of the Cappella dei Principi at S. Lorenzo, Florence, from 1606. Note the same ovoid facial types, and, most importantly, the swaying trees with their prominent branches and oak leaf-like foliage. Just as the birdcatchers stand on a seam of earth made from pietra d'Arno in the present panel, Christ stands on earth or brownish grass in the Madrid and 2014 plaques. A further comparison is found in the central plaque with Orpheus from a cabinet in the Detroit Institute of Fine Arts believed to have been made circa 1620 (inv. no. 1994.77). Again, we see the chalcedony sky, the green stone trees composed of large oak leaf type foliage, and the same figurative brown and lapis colour scheme.
The subject of the birdcatchers in the landscape, however, more closely parallels the bucolic scenes of a later generation of lapidaries active in the second half of the 17th century and the early 18th century, chief amongst them Baccio Cappelli (active circa 1700). Compare, for example, with Cappelli's central scene of fisherman dating to 1709, with similar swaying trees, on the Kimbolton Cabinet in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (inv. no. W.43-1949). A strong comparison is found in the panel with fishermen associated with Baccio Cappelli and sold at Bonhams London on 4 July 2013, lot 27. Here again, we see similarly conceived clusters of trees in the centre mid-ground of the scene. The bucolic figures of fisherman make a close comparison to the present panel: particularly in their clothes made from lapis and a brown/ coral coloured stone. Note also the prancing dog with his collar in the foreground, paralleled by the seated pooch and jumping rabbit in the present panel. The use of chalcedony to create the illusion of the cloudy sky is a feature particularly of Florentine marquetry from the second half of the 17th century onwards. Compare, for example, with panels from the Florentiner Zimmer in Schloss Favorite, Rastatt, conceived in the 1730's and 1740's (Giusti, 2005, op. cit., pp. 158-164). The above comparisons indicate that the present panel was made towards the end of the 17th century, though the similarities with earlier pietre dure works cautions against completely discounting the possibility of a dating earlier in the century.
A. Giusti, Pietre Dure, Turin, 1992, fig. 21, p. 78; fig. 50, p. 144; A. Giusti, Splendori di Pietre Dure, Florence, 1988, p. 62; A. Gonzalez-Palacios, Las colecciones reales españolas de mosaicos y piedras duras, Madrid, 2001, no. 8; A-M. Giusti, La marqueterie de pierres dures, Paris, 2005, pp. 76-77, pp. 158-164; W. Koeppe and A. Giusti, Arts of the Royal Court, exh. cat., Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York, 2008, no. 29, p. 154
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