Gamblers Italian Micromosaic

  • A friendly game of cards is the subject of this 19th-century Italian micromosaic
  • The work exhibits a remarkable degree of precision and intricacy in its construction
  • It is rendered using incredibly small pieces of tesserae, or glass tiles
  • One of the most labor-intensive artforms in the world, micromosaics are exceptional rarities
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-2841

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A friendly game of cards is the subject of this 19th-century Italian micromosaic. A special type of mosaic that uses incredibly small pieces of tesserae, or glass tiles, the micromosaic is one of the most time-consuming and labor-intensive art forms in the world. This example exhibits a remarkable level of detail considering the difficulty of the craft. Three knightly figures and a serving maid are captured beneath soaring architectural arcades in the work. From the colorful and highly detailed costumes of the figures to the cards that lay upon the table and the horses in the background, it exhibits a remarkable degree of precision and intricacy in its construction. 

The work represents a decisive change in tastes in Italian paintings in the late 19th century. While a small group of artists known as the Macchiaioli strayed from convention, the art market was almost entirely dominated by genre paintings that captured everyday scenes of contemporary Italian life. Mosaicists similarly adopted these highly marketable subjects, which were often anecdotal, festive or sentimental in tone. Carefree elderly couples, school children at play, knights and obliging maids — these were the preferred subjects of the 19th-century mosaicists, and they remain equally compelling to this day.

13 3/4" high x 11 1/4" wide
Gamblers Italian Micromosaic
Period: 1816-1918
Origin: Italy
Type: Other Fine Art
Depth: 0.88 Inches
Width: 11.25 Inches
Height: 13.75 Inches
Style: Neoclassicism

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