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The Places of Mosaic

“Florentine commesso”, a particular kind of mosaic made from pietra dura (literally, “hard stone”) and semi-precious stones developed in the 16th century in Florence.

The Medici family was a great supporter of this new form of art, uniting the characteristics of the traditional Romanesque mosaic and the difficulty and beauty of inlaying stones to create works of art similar to paintings.

Due to the uniqueness of the place in which it was born, every attempt to copy this technique failed: in fact, the great masters of the Florentine commesso rarely decided to establish their own Florentine mosaic schools outside Florence.

The Opificio delle Pietre Dure, was founded in the year 1588, which offering to the most important artists of the time excellent working conditions and a constant demand for their masterpieces.

Charles III tried to found an institution similar to the Florentine Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Naples, where he established the Laboratorio delle Pietre Dure, an artistic centre that outlasted its founder only one century and was closed at about the time of the unification of Italy.

Today as in the Medicean Renaissance, it is only in Florentce that just a few great masters continue to produce works of art using the technique of the Florentine commesso.

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