Antique lapel pin with micromosaic in gold, Italy circa 1820 & later
In the 19th century, every trip to Italy, the "Grand Tour," included excursions to the countryside surrounding Rome. Even Goethe, who visited Tivoli, Frascati and the many other picturesque towns in the region at the turn of the year 1786/87, raved about the beauty of the Campagna Romana. The landscape between the Apennines and the Mediterranean was rich in artistic monuments, natural beauty and those small towns whose inhabitants led a simple but seemingly happy life that was the envy of travelers from the north. The lapel pin presented here was born from this desire to spend time in the countryside. In a simple frame of gold, the showpiece mosaic depicts a peasant woman from the countryside, a "Donna di Campagna", in the typical costume of the Roman countryside. Standing in the middle of the lush green countryside, she leans on a stick and carries a basket in her hand. Is she on her way to the market? We know scenes like this from numerous sketches, prints and paintings made for the international travelers. A famous artist of the time, Bartomoleo Pinelli (1781-1835), for example, specialized in depicting the supposedly common people. He created an entire print series of "Costumi pittoreschi", genre scenes of the rural population in their local costumes, which was widely distributed. The mosaic was created in the years around 1820, as evidenced by the fine tesserae and the translucent blue background plate. Originally, the work was probably part of a necklace or bracelet.The mosaic plaque was later supplemented with a gold pin to make the piece wearable as a lapel pin. The rare mosaic is in first class condition.
The origin of the art of micromosaic is in Rome. Here, more precisely in the Vatican, existed since the 16th century a workshop for mosaics made of glass blocks. Initially, to protect the altarpieces placed in St. Peter's Basilica in a permanent form against candle soot, moisture and dirt, which the many pilgrims brought to the church. Later, after this task was completed, they continued to create copies of paintings as well as landscape representations in painting size. The idea of using this ultimately antique technique also for jewelry and for the decoration of craft objects arose at the end of the 18th century. As part of the Grand Tour, countless travelers from northern Europe arrived in the city, creating a great demand for souvenirs. Not least to serve this market, a whole new art form emerged: micromosaics are small and transportable, and were therefore particularly suitable to be taken back home in the north. Since they also usually show the beauties of Rome or motifs from antiquity, their success as travel souvenirs is hardly surprising. The "invention" of the micromosaic is associated above all with Giacomo Raffaelli and Cesare Aguatti, who perfected this technique around 1775. They established a tradition from which, until the end of the 19th century, mosaics were created with such richness of detail and artistry that had never been achieved before or since. For even today in Rome are made corresponding mosaics, albeit of much lower quality.
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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.
If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.