A pair of plaques in "commesso" depicting port scenes


A pair of plaques "commesso"

depicting port scenes





Italy, Florence


First half of the 18th century



Dimensions (without frame) : Height: 914 in. ; Width: 151932 in.

Dimensions (with frame): Height 113in. ; Width : 172332 in.




This pair of plaques is executed in Florentine “commesso”, a technique developed by The   Granducale Manufacture of Florence, allowing to compose a drawing by cutting irregular sections of polychrome stone plates, and by assembling them perfectly while making the lines of junction practically invisible on a slate plate thanks to a natural adhesive composed of glue and rosin.


Our two scenes present coastal landscapes, composed with architecture and figures in period costumes, made out of calcareous stones, very appreciated for their various colors skillfully exploited in all their nuances. These are expensive materials but are easier to work than the hard stones. The choice of the stones is very important in the rendering of various elements composing the landscape: the clear and luminous sky is carried out starting from a calcareous plate “albarese” with dendritic inclusions which take the shape of shrubs isolated in the composition. It is a typical stone of the basin of Arno frequently used from the 16th century in the mosaics of Florence. The plaque by Bernadino Poccetti is a perfect example of the typical aestheticism of the Granducale Manufacture.


The taste of the composition and the choice of the colors bring these two small landscapes, with the voluntarily “naive” grace, closer to the production of the “villager views” of hard stones, executed by The Granducale Manufacture of Florence, during the first period of The Medici. The two productions of calcareous stones and hard stones were sometimes associated with more prestigious creations. Thus the drawers of the cabinet of the Large Duchess Vittoria della Rovere, realized around 1680 and kept at the Pitti Palace, are covered with “villager views”, which will be a growing success during the next century.

Between the end of the 17th century and the first decades of the 18th century the production is characterized by a simplification of the decorations of the drawers of the cabinet della Rovere. The creations are realized in private workshops active in Florence in the shade of The Granducale Manufacture, created by the same artists of the Manufacture.

These plaques “commesso”, easily transportable, were highly appreciated by international customers during the 18th century in Florence. They were purchased, and then mounted to decorate cabinets or boxes. It was probably the case of our two plaques, which were transformed into decoration pieces.