Painting on agate in an ebonised wood, gilt bronze and semi-precious stone frame
38 x 31 cm - 15 x 12 1/4 in with frame
14 x 8.5 cm - 5 1/2 x 3 1/4 in without frame
Although quite rare, across the centuries the art of painting on stone has generated many precious and exquisite artworks.
This particular technique was employed by eminent Italian artists such as Sebastiano del Piombo, Titian and Leandro da Bassano, who challenged themselves to create wonderful pictorial compositions on timeless surfaces like lapis lazuli, agate, pietra paesina and others.
The oval painting on agate presented here reveals the biblical episode of the announcement of Christ’s birth to the shepherds, depicted on the lower right of the composition, by angels floating and appearing perched among voluminous clouds.
Perhaps by the hand of a Roman 17th Century artist, it has been suggested that the painting could also originate from Prague, where the technique of painting on stone was often employed in the creation of rich works of art.
The picture is encircled by a sumptuous octagonal frame made at a later date and enriched with gilt bronze decorations with putto masks, and encrusted with semi-precious stones.
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