Giovanni Montelatici is often credited with revitalizing the skill of "painting" in pietre dure, an art which had fallen into a steady decline since the mid-19th century. In 1898, he went into business with Galileo Chini (d. 1957), an artist from Mugello, near Florence, and the two men exhibited jointly at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle, winning a gold medal for their large table inlaid with a scene of the Annunciation. Following the success in Paris, Montelatici established a large workshop, known as La Musiva, on the Via Arnolfo, appointing Chini as its artistic director. The business flourished during the early decades of the 20th century, when Montelatici was joined by his two sons, Mario and Alfonso, and when foreign buyers were plenty. Inspired by the paintings and subject-matter of the Tuscan Macchiaiolo School and Southern Italian artists, production encompassed a wide variety of themes, with particular emphasis on scenes of domesticity and rural life.
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