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AN ITALIAN PORPHYRY AND MICROMOSAIC SNUFFBOX AND COVER
AN ITALIAN PORPHYRY AND MICROMOSAIC SNUFFBOX AND COVER

GIACOMO RAFFAELLI (1753-1836), ROME, 1779

Details
AN ITALIAN PORPHYRY AND MICROMOSAIC SNUFFBOX AND COVER
GIACOMO RAFFAELLI (1753-1836), ROME, 1779
Of circular form with ribbed sides, the cover inset with a micromosaic depicting a finch on a branch, the reverse of the micro-mosaic panel inscribed Giacomo Raffaeli, fece, Roma 1779, the underside with ribbed rosette
6.2 cm. diam

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Marleen Rengers
Marleen Rengers

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Lot Essay

Giacomo Raffaelli came from a family that supplied the Vatican Mosaic Workshop with smalti, the material of which micromosaics are made. Giacomo was trained as a painter and sculptor from an early age, and became a master in Florentine hardstone mosaics and Roman micromosaics. He often expressed his genius by combining both mosaic techniques in the same works of art. Most importantly, Raffaelli is credited with the invention of micromosaics. In 1775, at age twenty-two, he gave the first exhibition at his Rome studio of miniature mosaics, now known as micromosaics. This success led to a brilliant career in which he produced a vast number and variety of works, ranging from mosaic floors, tables, and monumental clocks to miniature mosaics small enough to fit on a snuffbox or brooch. He sometimes signed his work on the copper backs of his mosaics. One of his earliest known examples is a small round plaque, signed and dated 1779, depicting the Doves of Pliny (British Museum). However, numerous pieces attributed to Raffaelli, such as the eight miniature mosaics on an inkstand in the Wallace Collection, are unmarked.

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