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Timeless Wonder

Timeless Wonder

Painting on Stone in Rome between the Cinquecento and Seicento

Edited by Francesca Cappelletti
Edited by Patrizia Cavazzini


  • Over 60 works from Italian and foreign museums and important private collections richly illustrated
  • Rarely seen artworks 
Full Description

“This exhibition and its substantial catalogue, comprising ten essays in addition to the entries for the works on display, represent an almost heroic attempt to embrace this multifaceted topic in its rich complexity.” — The Burlington Magazine

During the 16th and 17th century, the discussion on the durability of artworks had become part of the debate on comparison of the arts, opposing the merits of sculpture to those of painting. The sculptors used colored marbles and painters paint on stone (slate, lapis lazuli, paesina stone, etc.), while metals and precious woods contribute to the creation of extraordinary objects, such as small altars, cabinets, and clocks, with complex architectural shapes and adorned with sculptures, reliefs and paintings. Painting on stone was particularly popular in Rome: the technique, developed by Sebastiano del Piombo, was used to paint large altarpieces but also for smaller works, avidly collected by contemporary patrons, among whom Scipione Borghese stands out. The painting exploited the natural features of the stones for backgrounds, buildings, skies and the result were amazing objects appreciated for their preciousness.

About the Author

Francesca Cappelletti is the director of the Galleria Borghese in Rome and Professor of Modern Art History at the University of Ferrara. Patrizia Cavazzini is an art historian, research fellow at the British School at Rome, an advisor to the American Academy in Rome and a member of the Borghese Galleryʼs scientific committee.

Officina Libraria
6th Mar 2023
USA & Canada
9.45 in x 11.02 in
304 Pages
224 color
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