This magnificent and rare marble intarsia table top belongs to the great tradition of Roman commesso that witnessed a rebirth during the Renaissance of the 16th century. Commesso was a mosaic technique of inlaying various irregular sections of rare colored marbles and semi-precious stones to form a design. The desire to emulate the art of Ancient Rome and its art inspired artisans to apply this ancient technique to architecture and furnishings utilizing rediscovered ancient marbles and stone. Architects and artists such as Jacopo Vignola (1507-73) and Giovanni Antonio Dosio (1535-1609) who came to specialize in commesso work were patronized by wealthy and cultivated patrons including Cardinals Ferdinando de Medici and Alessandro Farnese as well as Cosimo I of Florence. The early versions of such table tops are exemplified by a frieze of geometric patterns and simplified motifs such as flowerheads, lillies and peltae around a central area inlaid with a single slab of marble such as alabaster or a breccia, as on the present example. Already in 1555 some large tables with sculpted marble supports are described as 'marbles... with frieze around, and mottled varieties.' The celebrated table bearing the arms of Cardinal Farnese and designed by Vignola circa 1565, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the earliest documented example of this type of Roman intarsia technique. The present table can most likely be dated to the second half of the 16th century, when more naturalistic motifs stated to be introduced.