Art of the Royal Court (Hardcover)

Treasures in Pietre Dure from the Palaces of Europe

By Annamaria Giusti (Editor), Rudolf Distelberger (Contributions by), Ian Wardropper (Contributions by), Florian Knothe (Contributions by), Wolfram Koeppe (Editor), Christina Acidini (Contributions by), Detlef Heikamp (Contributions by), Jutta Kappel (Contributions by)

Metropolitan Museum of Art, 9780300136722, 428pp.

Publication Date: July 30, 2008

List Price: 65.00*
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This beautiful catalogue provides a comprehensive history of pietre dure, a virtuoso form of hardstone carving that reached an artistic peak in Italy in the 16th century and subsequently spread throughout Europe.


The demanding practice of pietre dure, first used in ancient times, enjoyed a spectacular revival in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. By artistic cutting, semiprecious stones—agate, lapis lazuli, chalcedony, and other colorful hardstones—were fashioned into extravagantly designed luxury objects such as table tops, wall panels, cabinets, and ornate display vessels. Both as objects of desire and as diplomatic gifts, these precious creations captivated the affluent societies of Europe. Art of the Royal Court presents 150 masterpieces of pietre dure, many of which are further embellished with gold and silver mounts or decorated with exotic woods and other coveted materials. 

About the Author

Annamaria Giusti is Chief Curator at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure e Laboratori di Restauro, Florence. Wolfram Koeppe is curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Praise For Art of the Royal Court: Treasures in Pietre Dure from the Palaces of Europe

"The catalogue, in its attention to detail, is a major advancement in the subject. Pietre dure are studied mainly in Europe and not much attention has been devoted to them in the United States...Thus it is the first time some of these pieces have been given any serious scholarship in English...The catalogue is a superbe effort to explain a complex subject."--Rachael Goldman, Sixteenth Century Journal

— Rachael Goldman