This superb panel decorated with a peacock resting on a peach branch was made using the Scagliola technique. This stucco technique aimed at imitating marble became very fashionable in the 17th century when it appeared to be an excellent substitute for the expensive inlays marble from the pietre dure workshops of the Medici family. Also called "marble stucco", this technique is obtained from selenite mixed with binders, such as glue, and natural pigments. Spread out according to a preliminary design on a base of wet gypsum, the Scagliola is left to harden and finally polished so that it appears as shiny as lustrous marble.
Imported to Italy by German artists, this technique first developed in Emilia-Romagna before reaching Florence, which became its main production center during the 17th century. It was at this time that large table tops or even small panels similar to ours were produced in quantity within the city of the Medici. Present in the interiors of the elite all over Europe, these pannels of Scagliola were often brought back from Italy to be incorporated into furniture or integrated into cabinets.
On these panels, the theme of the bird placed on a branch has enjoyed a particular success. These naturalistic subjects are typical of the Florentine mosaics created at the Galleria dei Lavori, the pietre dure workshop founded in Florence in 1588 by Grand Duke Ferdinand I, where the brightly colored plumages of the birds stood out brilliantly against black backgrounds in Belgian marble.
Dimensions : H. 24 ; W. 17 cm. / H. 39 ; W. 31 cm. (with the frame)