Et in Arcadia ego

Splendid micromosaic bangle in gilded silver, around 1860/1935

"A clever man finds the best education while traveling" Wolfgang Goethe already knew, and his trip to Italy was probably one of his most formative experiences for the poet from Frankfurt. He visited Venice, Verona, Sicily and Rome from Carlsbad, but his impressions of the Roman landscape, the Campagna around the Eternal City were here in the midst of these highlights of his journey probably once again a special experience. Resting in this landscape of an overgrown culture, we know Goethe from Tischbein's famous Frankfurt painting. Tischbein wanted to show Goethe "[...] pondering the fate of human works". And this fate, the course of the world is nowhere more clearly experienced than in the presence of the ruins of the glorious Roman Empire in the midst of elegiac wide fields and meadows. This impressive bracelet tells of a journey to Rome and its environs, it is the sigh "Et in Arcadia ego." made real and rescued into the present. Seven plaques made of black glass with inlays in fine micromosaic show impressions from the eternal city. We see the Colosseum in the center and the temples of the Forum, the four-sided triumphal arch of Janus Quadrifrons in the upper right, and the temple of Cori in the upper left. Over all the representations lies a warm sunlight, alternating between light blue and pink, which still in the representation evokes in the mind the cool freshness of a spring day in this delightful landscape. The plaques were created in the years around 1860. Originally, they probably adorned a bracelet or necklace. Then, in the 1930s, the bangle made of gilded silver was added to it. Delicate engravings connect the mosaics, which are now gathered like a flower of the most beautiful impressions of Rome on an oval shield. Through the delicate bars of the bangle, this selection of the most beautiful ruins now seems to float on the arms of its wearer.

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. Cf. on the technique and history of micromosaic the relevant literature: Maria Grazia Branchetti: Mosaici minuti romani, Rome 2004, with many works by Giacomo Raffaelli, as well as Roberto Grieco/Arianna Gambino: Roman Mosaic. L'arte del micromosaico fra '700 e '800, Milan 2001.

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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.