A glass micromosaic, Gioacchino Rinaldi/Rome, circa 1810
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DescriptionThe large micromosaic with a depiction of the Temple of Vesta and the Temple de la Sibylle in Tivoli. The mosaic signed G(ioacchino) Rinaldi F(ecit) at the bottom right and inset in an iron plate at the back, enclosed by a lead edging. It shows the famous circular Temple of Vesta from the late 2nd century B.C. with its 10 surviving Corinthian columns (of the original 18). Alongside it stands the Temple de la Sibylle from the 2nd century B.C., which was converted into a Christian church, Santa Maria Rotonda, during the Middle Ages, until 1884. A tavern on the left of the picture, a pastoral idyll in the foreground: a young woman and her son encounter a shepherd at rest with his two goats.
Giacomo Raffaelli (1753-1836) of Rome may be regarded as the initiator of the art of mosaics, which has been practised since antiquity, having revived the art at the end of the 18th century. In 1804, he was appointed director of a new "Scuola del mosaico" in Milan. His works were given as gifts by Pope Pius VII (1742/1800- 1823), among others, and can still be found today in the castles of Fontainebleau and Malmaison. As Raffaelli's successor, his contemporary Rinaldi in Rome was considered to be the artist who took the art of (micro)mosaic to new heights in terms of elegance and choice of motif. Owing to the deplorable economic situation in almost all European countries at the beginning of the 19th century, Rinaldi exhibited two of his mosaics in Paris in 1808, for which he had "les Souverains, protecteurs des beaux-arts" in mind as buyers. This type of work is quite heavy; our mosaic weighs about 48 kg and consists of approx. 60,000 glass stones. Rinaldi and his atelier probably worked on this mosaic for about two years.
Literature: G. J. Hanisee Gabriel et al., Micromosaics, The Gilbert Collection, London 2000, p. 289 (with further references). Dimensions 53 x 72 cm.
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