The 20 th Century at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure

An exhibit that represents the artists who brought the art of the Florentine “commesso” into the 20 th century.

At the beginning of the 1950s, the Opificio delle Pietre Dure [workshop of semi-precious stones] in Florence led an initiative to relaunch the ancient as well as precious tradition of the “commesso”, a mosaic created with carved marble inlaid with semi-precious stones. Today an exhibit gives us the opportunity to see how this technique was recovered, a technique that spectacularly embellished Medici buildings like the Chapel of Princes in the Basilica di San Lorenzo. “The 20 th Century for the Museum of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure”: this is the title of the exhibit which, until 4 May, will pay homage to the young artists that in 1953 participated in the competition for tiles and sketches to be turned into a “commesso”, organised by the Opificio. On the upper floor of the museum, four colour sketches, three drawings with relative tracings, and sixteen tiles in gemstones and clastic rock are on display. This series of 23 pieces concludes with the tile that won first place in the competition, created from a sketch by Alvaro Monnini, one of the primary exponents of classical Abstractism. “An exhibit that will allow visitors to not only admire pieces that represent a modern reinterpretation of this craft, established in 1588 with Ferdinand I de’ Medici, but also to retrace the characteristic manual steps of this technique that made the Opificio famous worldwide,” explain Sandra Rossi and Annalisa Innocenti, curators of the exhibit. The exhibit was staged according to a design by the P&M architecture studio in Florence, and is accompanied by a catalogue published by Sillabe.

Museum of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (Via degli Alfani, 78, Open to the public: from Monday to Saturday, 8:15am-2pm (last entry at 1:30pm). Tickets: full €4, reduced €2.