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Pietre dure artwork in Indian sculpture
Pietre dure artwork in Indian sculpture

Roopanjana Buddhiraja
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Although Pietre dure has its origin in Rome, this kind of decorative artwork is seen extensively in Indian monuments and art pieces. I would like to know more about this art work...

Posted On : 04/20/09 12:36:56 AM

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Roop Chatterjee
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Pietre dure refers to a particular kind of mosaic design made from semiprecious stones. The history of world sculpture unfolds that the saga of pietre dure in the modern era began in Rome in the 1500s and spread throughout Italy in the seventeenth century. In India it was the Mughals who further borrowed this type of stone work and gave it an Indian edition. In the stone work of Taj Mahal this style is heavily seen.

Posted On : 04/20/09 5:37:47 AM

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Maniam PS
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Pietre dure or Parchin kari, in South Asia is an art-historical term for the technique of using small, exquisitely cut and fitted, highly-polished colored stones to create what amounts to a painting in stone. It is considered a decorative art. The stonework, after the work is assembled loosely, is glued stone-by-stone to a substrate after having previously been sliced and cut in different shape sections and then assembled together so precisely that the contact between each section was practically invisible . Stability was achieved by grooving the undersides of the stones so that they interlocked, rather much like a jigsaw puzzle, with everything held tautly in place by an encircling frame . Many different colored stones, particularly marbles, were used, along with semiprecious, and even precious stones. It first appears in Rome in the 1500s but reaches its full maturity in Florence. Pietra Dura items are generally crafted on green, white and black marble color base stones. History: Pietre dure is an Italian plural meaning hard rocks, or perhaps better durable stone and this is the preferred term the singular pietra dura is also encountered. The English term Florentine mosaic is sometimes also encountered, as is micromosaic , but these are disparaged, often as terms developed by the tourist industry. As an artistic medium, it descends from Byzantine mosaics, especially their predilection for incorporating semiprecious and precious stones into the work. It is distinct from mosaic, however, in that first, the stones are not cemented together with grout, and second, for the fact that the works in pietre dure are generally portable. For fixed inlay work on walls, ceilings and pavements that do not meet the definition for mosaic, the terms intarsia or cosmati/cosmatesque are better used. Similarly, for works that use larger pieces of stone or tile , opus sectile may be used. Pietre dure is essentially stone marquetry. As a high expression of lapidary art, it is closely related to the jewelers art. It can also be seen as a branch of sculpture as three-dimensionality can be achieved, as with a bas relief. The Florentines, who most fully developed the form, however, regarded it as painting in stone . It is stated that Domenico Ghirlandaio dubbed the medium Pittura per l eternit - that is, painting for eternity . As it developed in Florence, the technique was initially called opere di commessi approximately, Works of the commissariat . Medici Grand Duke Ferdinando I of Tuscany founded the Galleria di Lavori in 1588, now the Opificio delle pietre dure, for the purpose of developing this and other decorative forms. A multitude of varied objects were created. Table tops were particularly prized, and these tend to be the largest specimens. Smaller items in the form of medallions, cameos, wall plaques, panels inserted into doors or onto cabinets, bowls, jardinieres, garden ornaments, fountains, benches, etc. are all found. A popular form was to copy an existing painting, often of a human figure Examples are found in many museums. The medium was transported to other European centers of court art and remained popular into the 19th century. In particular, Naples became a noted center of the craft. By the 20th century, the medium was in decline, in part by the assault of modernism, and the craft had been reduced to mainly restoration work. In recent decades, however, the form has been revived, and receives state-funded sponsorship. Modern examples range from tourist-oriented kitsch including syrupy reproductions of 19th century style religious subjects especially in Florence and Naples , to works copying or based on older designs used for luxurious decorative contexts, to works in a genuinely contemporary artistic idiom. Due to the Taj Mahal being one of the major tourist attractions, there is a flourishing industry of Pietra Dura artifacts in Agra ranging from tabletops, medallions, elephants and other animal forms, jewellery boxes and other decorative items. This art form is fully alive and thriving in Agra, India though the patterns in the designs are more Persian than Roman or Medician.

Posted On : 04/21/09 10:08:25 PM

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