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    A Large Italian Micromosaic Plaque Depicting St. Peter's Square Attributed to Cesare Roccheggiani, Rome, last quarter nineteenth century
    8 x 16-1/4 inches (20.3 x 41.3 cm)

    Property from the Estate of Terry Berreth, Palm Springs, California

    We wish to thank Jeanette Hanisee Gabriel, author of Micromosaics Private Collections, 2016, for her invaluable cataloguing assistance.

    The finely detailed and impressive micromosaic depicts a panoramic view of St. Peter's Square, with minute tesserae blending seamlessly to create a scenic portrayal of the renowned landmark. The cornflower tiles fade gradually to a pale blue toward the central scene creating a sense of depth and hinting to the vast uninterrupted skyline in the distance. St. Peter's Basilica stands proud as the central feature, framed by the Colonnades, and surrounded by the archetypal Vatican structures which lend to the scope of the composition. The iconic Obelisk, rendered in precise detail, beckons the eye of both the viewer, and the minute figures in the foreground of the micromosaic.

    Mosaics have a storied history, dating back millenia. Often used to adorn monuments in Ancient Greece and Rome, early Christian structures also utilized the medium to great effect to embellish ceilings and walls. St. Peter's Basilica boasts particularly celebrated mosaics used to supplant deteriorating altar pieces. Micromosaics rose to popularity and became synonymous with Vatican workmanship, in particular the Vatican Mosaic Studio, established in 1576. By the era of the Grand Tour, it became customary for visitors to bring a small piece of their travels home, in the form of a micromosaic. These micromosaics were often small scale replicas of the altar pieces within St. Peter's Basilica, or depictions of the square itself, allowing the visitor to capture the memory of his or her time at the sacred monument. Proving to be both conveniently transportable, and beautiful in the extreme, micromosaics were often made into jewelry, snuff boxes, and small panels as the most favourable souvenirs of the 17th to the 19th century.

    Such was the popularity of the micromosaic, by the 19th century, studios of varying degrees of talent and repute had begun to peddle their wares. While most of the artisans and studios did not mark their works, the fine detail, realism, and dynamism of the micromosaic plaque depicting St. Peter's Square aids in its attribution to Cesare Roccheggiani (fl. late 19th century), one of the most celebrated micromosaic artists of the time. Due to his illustrious reputation and talent, Roccheggiani's works have become some of the most enduring and sought after micromosaics from the late 19th century.

    Condition Report*: The impressive plaque in very good condition, featuring a meticulously detailed scene of the Piazza San Pietro, with an approximately 1-1/4 by 3/4 inch restoration with subsequent overpainting near upper edge, and faint, stable hairlines concentrated in upper third of work. The scene otherwise free from tile losses, or considerable damage. Paper Vatican workshop label to frame verso.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2021
    22nd Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,468

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