Antique Pietra Dura Plaque of Two Women with a Priest
Florence, Italy, c. 1875
A grand and fine antique pietra dura plaque depicting two women with a priest, made in Florence in c.1875.
This is a serious pietra dura plaque, both in terms of subject matter and substance. It is large, and accentuated by its glorious original carved Florentine frame. The subject matter sets it apart from the more typical choice of whimsy and genre imagery. Here, we have a more weighty, moral discussion between a pensive man of the cloth (no drink or bottle for him here), a subdued younger woman, and a pragmatic, problem-solving older lady. The scene lends itself to multiple interpretations, whilst the crucifix on the table alongside the closely-examined notes leaves no doubt that it is, in the end, a quandary between the spirit and the law.
Technically, it is first class. The natural patterns and rhythms of the stone are used to superb effect, whilst the fine detail on the priest’s expression, in the young girl’s downcast face, and old lady’s hands leave no doubt that although unsigned, it is an important plaque by a great craftsman.