18th Century Italian Pair of Panels in Scagliola, Landscape and Ruin
Rare pair of panels scagliola Italian 18th century period with original frame.
Dimensions with frame cm 56 x 36, only scagliola panel cm 47 x 27.
They represent two landscapes reminiscent of the great lakes at the foot of the Alps, animated by fishermen, villages and ruins.
Exceptional state of conservation. Original carved wood frame, blackened and gilded with leaf. Nails and hangers of origin in wrought iron.
Scagliola is an Italian word, which comes from a gypsum found in abundance in the north of Italy, and whose main character is its structure in thin sheets in the form of scales, which is the result of accumulated marine sediment deposit for centuries and centuries. These layers or scaglies are so perfect and subtle that once they were used in the construction of the windows of some churches. The light passing through these thin layers creates effects of such beauty that we have called this selenite mineral (from Selene, moon in Greek), or Pietra de la luna, moonstone.
Selenite – or moonstone – was calcined and then reduced to very fine dust, moreover, this very fine dust or gypsum powder was also called Scagliola. Italian craftsmen had a preference for this gypsum because of its pure white and its degree of finesse. This gypsum was used mainly for works of art, and particularly in the famous marquetry tables created in Italy during the Renaissance.
The main reason for the invention of Scagliola is that real materials, such as marble, were very difficult to find, and they were very expensive and difficult to transport. Replacing the original with a product that could imitate it perfectly, came back cheaper, and offered a more malleable product that artisans could color at their leisure. The works in scagliola have reached a degree of mastery to overcome, even sometimes, hard stone marquetry. From Emilia-Romagna, where scagliola appeared during the 17th century, the technique spread to Tuscany, Lombardy, Campania and other Italian regions.
In the 18th century in Florence, Enrico Hugford (1695-1771) and his pupil, Lamberto Cristiano Gori (1730-1801), were among the great masters of the Florentine scagliola transforming the technique, more pictorial and less imitative, from simple craftsmanship to real art.
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