Intarsia and Marquetry Part 3

[Illustration: Plate 31.--_Panels from Monte Oliveto Maggiore, now in the Cathedral, Siena._

_To face page 60._]

In 1490 he was summoned to the Certosa at Pavia to estimate the value of the stalls made by Bartolommeo dei Polli, in company with Giacomo dei Crocefissi and Cristoforo de' Rocchi. Except for these there are no notices of the work which he must have done till 1502, when the abbot and monks of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, having determined to renew the choir of their church, confided the work to Fra Giovanni, and necessarily recalled him. He worked with so much enthusiasm that in three years he entirely completed them "to his great repute and with no less satisfaction to the monks." "The whole comprised 52 stalls, with their backs, seats and arm rests, kneelers and all things appertaining"

(it now consists of 48 stalls and 47 pictures), and the panels of the backs were worked in tarsia with perspective views "beautiful to a marvel," where were figured houses, views of the country, cupboards, grilles, sacred utensils, and other fancies. In the early years of the 19th century 38 of these perspectives were moved to Siena and placed in the Cathedral, where they now are. Another choir, smaller but not less beautiful, was made for the church of the Olivetan monastery of S.

Benedetto fuori della Porta at Tufi, near Siena. This church is in ruins; 31 perspectives from the choir were sent to fill the gaps in Monte Oliveto Maggiore, the monks who returned after the revocation of the suppression in 1813 having appealed to the Archbishop to allow them to take them. Four of the ancient backs were found in a corner of the sacristy, and eight carried to Siena and found superfluous were returned, as well as one which a neighbouring villager had taken. Some of them show the conventual buildings as they were at the beginning of the 16th century. The frames resemble friezes, and are decorated with flowers, fruit, birds, musical instruments, arms, and ornament. Each back is separated from the next by a colonnette carved with delicate arabesques. In this choir is also an Easter candlestick much like that at S. Maria in Organo, Verona, and there are two doors which belonged to the library. Pope Julius II. called him to Rome in 1571, and commissioned the ornamentation of the Camera della Segnatura in the Vatican, the designs for which are ascribed to Raffaelle, not only the seat backs with their seats, but also the doors, all worked with perspectives, "in which he succeeded so well that he gained great favour with the pontiff." Then he went to Naples and did the same sort of carving and intarsia in the sacristy of the choir of the chapel of Paolo Tolosa, in the church of Monte Oliveto in that city, works not less successful and lauded than those of Siena and Rome. This church is now called that of S. Anna dei Lombardi. The tarsie in the sacristy are in a later setting, and include nine panels of perspectives of landscapes, buildings, &c., nine others showing cupboards with objects on the shelves, and one with a figure of an abbot around which the following inscription runs:--


The work is exceedingly delicate, pieces of wood no thicker than a thick pencil line being often used. In one panel is a well-executed lily, in another a hare is a foreground figure, in another are an owl and a bullfinch, while a hoopoe appears in another, with mountains behind him. The objects on the shelves of the cupboards are turned at queer angles to show his skill in perspective, but, since they lack tone, do not appear quite accurate. Among the architectural subjects are the choir of a church, a harbour, and a castle on a hill, seen from a balustraded terrace, and a circular building a little like that in the background of Raffaelle's "Sposalizio." They were well restored in 1860 by C. G. Minchiotti. In the monks' choir in the church are other intarsie said to be by Angelo da Verona, Giovanni's brother. They are principally arabesques, somewhat resembling the panels in the Cathedral at Genoa, but include four figure panels of little angels and an Annunciation in two panels, which are not without charm, though rather overstiff.

[Illustration: Plate 32.--_Frieze from Monte Oliveto Maggiore._

_To face page 62._]

In his last years he returned to Verona, where he had made the monks'

choir in S. Maria in Organo, and the cupboards of the sacristy. These have the reputation of being not only the finest of the period but also the best which came from his hand. The Adige was in this church for two months during one of the inundations, but the tarsie did not suffer so much as might have been expected. He accepted a commission in 1523 for some stalls for the Olivetan church at Lodi, S. Cristopher, eleven of which are now in the suburban church of S. Bernardino in that city, but died before they were completed. Vincenzo Sabbia writes of these:--"In the year 1523 the reverend father Fra Filippo Villani of Lodi, prior of the convent of S. Cristoforo in that city, agreed with Fra Giovanni Veronese, an excellent master of perspective, to make him 35 pictures of perspective at the rate of 30 or 40 broad ducats of gold for each--which are worth 5 lire 4 soldi each--which were to be finished in two or three years, and 300 broad ducats of gold were counted out to him. The said brother was not able to finish more than 23, because he died on February 10, 1525. They were sent from Verona and taken to Lodi, and in 1586 the new church of S. Cristoforo being finished, Don Agostino, the prior, who had charge of the fabric, had the aforesaid 23 pictures with their ornaments set in the choir by the hand of Paolo Sasono." He died in the 68th year of his age, and was buried in S. Maria in Organo. He is called "prior" in a chronicle of the monastery under date 1511, and in the list of dead. In his portrait in the sacristy, by Caroto, he is represented with the tonsure and with the hood and cowl of the form which was proper to monks who were constituted "in sacris."

Fra Raffaello da Brescia, whose name was Roberto Marone, was born in 1477. His father's name was Pietro Marone, and his mother was a Venetian, named Cecilia Tiepolo. When twenty-two years old he took the monastic habit as a lay brother in the convent of S. Nicol di Rodengo, near Brescia, and a little later (in 1502) was sent to Monte Oliveto Maggiore. Fra Giovanni being then established there as "conventual brother," took young Marone and taught him, seeing that he had both liking and talent for the work, so that he soon became a clever workman.

Between 1504 and 1507 he worked with him at the choir of Monte Oliveto, from 1506 to 1510 he was with him at Naples, when the famous sacristy panels were being executed, and in 1511 and 1512 he was at S. Nicol di Rodengo, where he worked at the choir of that church. The lectern from Rodengo is now in the Galleria Tosi at Brescia; the inlays are in the lower portion, and show architectural compositions in perspective and the usual objects, such as a censer, an open book, &c. It is signed F.R.B. In 1513 Raffaello commenced the magnificent choir of S. Michaele in Bosco, Bologna, and here he also made the design for the campanile, which was built by Maestro Pedrino di Como, showing that like so many of the intarsiatori he was no mere worker in wood. While this work was in progress he executed a lectern for Monte Oliveto, ordered by the abbot Barnaba Cevenini, who was a Bolognese. It is signed and dated 1520, and shows on each side a choir book open, with notes of music and words. In one of the lower panels a black cat symbolises fidelity.

S. Michele in Bosco was among the largest of the Olivetan convents. The Benedictines entered into possession in 1364, but these buildings were destroyed by the Bolognese in 1430, "so that they might not give shelter and a base for hostilities to the soldiers of Martin V." The re-construction began in 1437. The choir was raised on several steps, and called "Il Paradiso," ten years later, but subsequent alterations have left very little of the original work visible. Raffaello's stalls were probably finished in 1521, that being the date on a panel which was formerly in the centre of the choir. Of these splendid works only two confessionals still remain in the church. At the time of the suppression of the convents at the end of the 18th century the populace, drunk with rapine and devastation, tore down these stalls, and they were sold for a few pence to the Bolognese marine store dealers and rag merchants. Only 18 of the principal row were saved from destruction, the Marquis Antonio Malvezzi buying them in 1812, and having them restored and placed in the chapel of his family in S. Petronio (now the chapel of the Holy Sacrament), where they now are. He was not able to save the hoods and shell canopies, which were sold for firewood for 4 baiocchi each! (about two pence.) The designs are of the usual style, cupboards and various objects in perspective; one of the finest is the first on the left, which includes a fine sphere and sundial, and several books written in German letters, black and red, a chalice in a cupboard, two books, and a cross. In the seventh is the figure of Pope Gregory in the act of blessing, and the last on the right shows loggias and porticoes of good style, well put in perspective. With part of the tarsie from S. Michele pianoforte cases were made, other portions were used for the floor of the Casino, near the theatre of the Corso, and were worn to pieces by the feet of the dancers! In 1525 Fra Raffaello went to Rome, and no further notices of him or of his work occur till his death there in 1537; he was buried in S. Maria in Campo Santo.

Another somewhat similar set of stalls, though rather later in date, also at Bologna, are the upper row in the choir of S. Giovanni in Monte, which have on their backs intarsie representing monuments, fantastic battlemented buildings, musical instruments, and geometrical motives, all executed with a mastery which reveals an artist old at the work.

They recall in their general effect those in S. Prospero at Reggio, in the Emilia, which were executed by the brothers Mantelli in 1546. They are set in a carved framing of arches divided by pilasters which terminate above in brackets which support the cornice. The pilasters rest on the arms which divide the seats. Champeaux says they were made by Paolo del Sacha.

The tarsie in S. Mark's, Venice, were worked by Fra Vincenzo da Verona, another Olivetan, under whom was Fra Pietro da Padova, Jesuit, with two youths to assist them. The commission was given in 1523. Three rooms in the hospital of "Messer Jesu Cristo" were assigned him as workshops, and 100 ducats for food and clothing, as stated in the registers of the procurators of S. Mark's. On January 15, 1524, they inspected the work done, and were not satisfied, and so suspended it, "praising, nevertheless, the manners and the life of Fra Vincenzo." According to Cicogna, the registers contained, under date April 7, 1526, a note of money paid to "Fra Vincenzio, of the order of the Jesuits, for the finishing of the works of inlay" in the choir of S. Marco. On February 25, 1537, certain moneys were given to more workmen for the construction of the doge's seat, which is said to have been "a great thing full of artistic pangs" (!), and rather hindered the genuflections to the altar. This was made for Andrea Gritti, who was doge that year. This Fra Vincenzo da Verona, or Vincenzo dalla Vacche, is mentioned by Morello in his "Notizie" as excellent, especially in his work at S. Benedetto Novello at Padua, four panels from which are now in the Louvre. He became novice in 1492, "Conventuale" of Monte Oliveto in 1498, was a priest like Fra Giovanni, and lived almost all his life in his native city. He died in 1531. The tarsie in the presbytery at S. Marco consist of seven great compartments, five lesser, and thirteen which are small.

The eighteen smaller compartments are panels of ornament. The others are figure subjects, but by more than one hand. First comes a figure of S.

Mark with a lion at his feet, which is not very good (it was restored in 1848-50 by Antonio Camusso); next, a figure of Charity side by side with one of Justice, a woman with a baby, and one holding the balances. Next comes a figure of Strength or Courage, older and rougher in character, then four ornamental panels, a door, and five others, also of ornament.

The next panel in the corner bears date 1535, to which year the figures of Justice and Charity may be assigned. The other figures are Prudence and Temperance, the latter of which resembles Strength in character. The remaining subject, a Pieta, is like Charity and Justice, and is masterly. Three spaces are empty. The doge's seat, until the fall of the Republic, was on the right of the principal entrance to the choir, as Sansovino says. It had on its back a figure of Justice, now in the Museo Civico. He also says that Sebastiano Schiavone did these tarsie, but he died in 1505. Various initials appear here and there through the work; on each side of the figure of S. Mark are U.F.Q. and M.S.R. in cartouches, Charity and Justice have N. and P. at the sides, and Prudence has P.S.S. and S.S.C. attached to her. The panels of ornament seem to be of the same period as the figure of Charity.

[Illustration: Plate 33.--_Panel from S. Mark's, Venice._

_To face page 68._]

Fra Damiano of Bergamo, Fra Giovanni's fellow-pupil, attained, if possible, even greater reputation. He was considered the finest artist in tarsia of his time, he having, "with his woods, coloured to a marvel, raised the art to the rank of real painting." His family name was Zambello, he is thought to have been born about 1490, and he became a Dominican monk. An anonymous MS. of the 16th century, published by Morelli, calls him a pupil of a Slavonian, that is, Illyrian, brother of Venice, Fra Sebastiano da Rovigno. He passed the greater part of his life at Bologna, in the Dominican cloister there, into which he was admitted in 1528. In the records of the convent for that year occurs the note, "Frater Damianus de Bergomo, homo peritissimus, singularissimus, et unicus in l'arte della tarsia, conversus, receptatus fuit in filium conventus." At S. Domenico the choir stalls were his first work; he did seven, containing fourteen subjects and seven heads of saints. These were finished in 1530, and in consequence of their success he was commissioned to complete the choir. He carried the tinting of the wood farther than Fra Giovanni did, using solutions of sublimate of mercury, of arsenic, and what they called oil of sulphur. He is said to have had Vignola's designs for the architectural parts.

Charles the Fifth was in Bologna with Clement VII., and was crowned Emperor in S. Petronio on December 5, 1529. One day he was in S.

Domenico admiring the works of art, and, doubting that the tarsie were made of tinted wood, as he was told, drew his rapier and cut a bit out of one of the panels, which has always remained in the state in which he left it in memory of his act. Desiring to see how the work was done he determined to visit Fra Damiano's studio. Accordingly, on March 7, 1530, he took with him Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, and several princes of his escort, and went to the convent, when, being conducted to Fra Damiano's poor cell, he knocked at the door. The friar, having opened and allowed the Emperor to enter, shut it quickly. "Stay," said the Emperor, "that is the Duke of Ferrara, who follows me." "I know him,"

answered Fra Damiano, "and that is why I will never let him enter my cell." "And why?" said Charles V.; "have you anything of his doing to complain of then?" "Listen, your majesty," answered the lay brother. "I had to come from Bergamo to Bologna to undertake the work of this choir.

I had with me these tools which you see, few in number, but necessary for the work in which it is my study to worthily spend my life, and to delight in the art. I had scarcely touched the frontiers of Ferrara when they not only obliged me, a poor friar, to pay a heavy and unjust tax, but the manner of doing it was most offensive. Now, while that duke allows such roguery in his State, it is right that he should not see this work which you see." Charles smiled, and promised to obtain from Duke Alfonso the amplest satisfaction. Going out of the cell he told the duke the reason of Fra Damiano's anger, and he not only promised to repay the loss which he had suffered, but conceded a patent to him, by which he and his pupils were for ever free from any tax or duty when crossing the duchy of Ferrara. Then they all came laughing and joking into the cell, and Fra Damiano, to show them that his tarsie were not painted with a brush took a little plane and passed it over a panel with some force, showing how the colours, after that treatment, still retained their integrity and beauty. And then he gave the Emperor a most beautiful piece of the Crucifixion, and another to the Duke of Ferrara, who valued it greatly. Locatelli gives some conversations between Fra Damiano and his assistant Zanetto, which must have preceded this visit, which are worth recording for their racy expression, according well with his reported action. "If it were in my power I would nail up this door for Charles and for all the dukes of the world. This art which I exercise is exceeding dear to me, and I hate to have to do with these signori who manage things after their own fashion; and sad it is for those who have to endure it. I respect His Majesty the Emperor, and hold him to be a great man, but the fate of Rome sticks in my throat. That other, too, who accompanies him--" "Who?" interrupted Zanetto, "the Pope?" "Oh, rubbish; the Pope! The Duke of Ferrara. With him I have a special account, and he must not come here." He also adds the detail that Fra Damiano had no money with him, and had to go about begging for wherewithal to pay the duke's dues till he blushed.

From 1530 to 1534 he worked at a great piece of panelling to be placed in the chapel of the "arca," the tomb of S. Dominic, which is now in the sacristy, and thought by some to be his masterpiece. There are eight cupboards in this, and on each are eight subjects. In 1534 the Order was so poor that such expenses were stopped. Seven years later the work was recommenced and finished in 1550 by Fra Bernardino and Fra Antonio da Lunigiano a few months after Fra Damiano's death, which occurred on August 30, 1549. The choir consists of a double row of 28 stalls on each side, making 112 in all, showing on the right subjects from the New, and on the left from the Old Testament. Those on the right are the best, and are probably Fra Damiano's own work. He had as assistants at one time Zanetto da Bergamo, Francesco di Lorenzo Zambelli, and a lay brother, Fra Bernardino, who afterwards did the sacristy door. At another time his brother Stefano helped him, together with Zampiero da Padova, Fra Antonio Asinelis, the brothers Capo di Ferro of Lovere, Pietro di Maffeis, Giovanni and Alessandro Belli. The choir of S. Domenico cost 2809 scudi. Henry II. of France commissioned a little chapel from him with an altar-piece, for his reputation had crossed the Alps, and Cardinal Salviati and Paul III., the Farnese Pope, also wished for his work, as did the Benedictine monks of S. Pietro in Casinense, at Perugia. He did for them a two-leaved door, which cost 120 scudi, now placed at the back of the choir, and opening on to a balcony, from which one sees, in fine weather, as far as the Castle of Spoleto. There are four subjects, two on each leaf; the Annunciation illustrated is one of them. Sabba Castiglione uses the most enthusiastic language about him and his work. "But, above all, those who can obtain them decorate their mansions with the works, rather divine than human, of Fra Damiano, who excelled not only in perspectives, like those other worthy masters, but in landscapes, in backgrounds, and what is yet more, in figures; and who effected in wood as much as the great Apelles did with his pencil. I even think that the colours of these woods are more vivid, brilliant, and beautiful than those used by painters, so that these most excellent works may be considered as a new style of painting without colours, a thing much to be wondered at. And what adds to the marvel is, that though these works are executed with inlaid pieces the eye cannot even by the greatest exertion detect the joints." He then goes on in the same grandiloquent strain--"This good father in dyeing woods in any colour that you may wish, and in imitation of spotted and marbled stones, as he has been unique in our century, so I think that he will be without equal in the future; it is certain that our Lord God has lent him grace, as I believe, because he wished so much that things might be well ended, to put his final work on the work of S. Domenico of Bologna. I think, indeed I am certain, that it will be called the eighth wonder of the world; and as the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, and the Greeks boasted of their temples, pyramids, colossi, and sepulchres, thus happy Bologna will be able to glory in and to boast of the choir of S.

Domenico. And because I do not wish that the love and affection that I bear to my most excellent father should make me to be considered a flatterer (!), a thing far from me, and especially with friends about whom I always speak the truth, I say no more; yet all that which I could say would be little enough on the merit of his rare and singular virtue, and on the goodness of his religious and holy life." Fra Leandro Alberti, in his description of Italy, speaks in something the same manner--"Frate Damiano, lay brother of the Order of Preachers, has become a man of as much genius as is to be found in the whole world at present, in putting together woods with so much art that they appear pictures made with a brush."

[Illustration: Plate 34.--_Panel from door in Choir of S. Pietro in Casinense, Perugia._

_To face page 74._]

A few stalls made by him are now in the church of S. Bartolommeo, Bergamo, which were brought from the Dominican church of S. Stefano, destroyed for the fortifications in 1561. The designs were made by Trozo da Monza, Bernardo da Trevi (? Treviglio), and Bramantino. As Locatelli says, they preceded the famous choir at Bologna, and show the master trying his wings. Some think that his best works are those in which he did not employ colour, but only shading, but general opinion considers his highest point was reached in the doors of S. Pietro in Casinense.

Another Dominican intarsiatore was Fra Antonio da Viterbo, who, in 1437, made the doors of S. Peter's at Rome by order of Eugenius IV., which were subsequently destroyed by Paul V. He was paid 800 ducats of gold before the Pope died, when they were nearly finished. They were both inlaid and carved in the most elaborate fashion, as the list of subjects shows:--The Saviour, the Blessed Virgin, SS. Peter and Paul, and Eugenius on his knees, the martyrdom of SS. Peter and Paul, S.

Plautilla, who received the borrowed veil from S. Paul; the Coronation of the Emperor Sigismund in S. Peter's in 1433 by Eugenius, "and there you see the Prefect of Rome holding the sword before him, their march through Rome, the union of the Greek Church with the Latin, the entry of the ambassador from the King of Ethiopia, and other histories of the time." He had two assistants, Valentine and Leonardo.

[Illustration: _To face page 77._ Plate 35.--_Lunette from Stalls in Cathedral, Genoa._]

The choir stalls in the Cathedral at Genoa are attributed to Francesco Zambelli of Bergamo, a relative of Fra Damiano. He was helped by Anselmo de' Fornari, Andrea and Elia della Rocca, Giovanni Michele de Pantaleone, and Giovanni Piccardo, who had already worked in the choir of the Cathedral of Savona. The contract is still extant by which Francesco di Zambelli of Bergamo undertakes to make them with three of the procurators for the building and ornamentation of San Lorenzo, dated April 12, 1540. He agrees to get to work not later than the first of September next, and to stay in the city till the work is done. Nor must he undertake other work under a penalty of 100 scudi, which he is to pay in such case without demur or defence. The procurators agree to pay for every picture, with its frame, according to the design furnished to him, and they also promise to provide lodgings for himself and his family without any expense to him, and to give him a present when the work is finished. On the same day his relative, Fra Damiano, promises to make two pictures, one for the seat of the archbishop and one for the doge, to be ready by Christmas Day next, to be paid for at the rate of 27 scudi each, measure and design to be given by the signory. The same day the aforesaid "Magnifici" had it explained to them that they would have to pay the expenses of making sketches. In the panel with the history of Moses Zambelli signs his name and domicile. Fra Damiano's subjects appear to be the large ones in the panelling before the stalls commence, "The Massacre of the Innocents" and "The Martyrdom of S. Laurence." The figure subjects are not very successful, the arabesques are better; but the panels with open cupboard doors and objects within are not so well done as Fra Giovanni's. The stalls were restored in 1868, and a good deal of new work put in. The choir of the Cathedral of Savona was made in 1500 by Anselmo de' Fornari, a native of Castelnuovo da Scrivia; Pope Julius II. (della Rovere), who was born in the city, commissioned it.

The intarsias are on the elbows of the stalls, half-figures of saints nearly life size, singly or in pairs, among which is a portrait of the donor, with perspectives of palaces, temples, or interiors on the backs.

The lower stalls have less important subjects, such as censers, chalices, vases of flowers, animals, armillary spheres, musical instruments, etc. The cost of these stalls was 1132 scudi d'oro larghi (10 francs each and a little more) half of which was paid by Julius II. and half by the Commune of Savona. In the same Cathedral are a fine lectern, an episcopal throne, two doors of the chapel of our Lady of the Column, and a fine seat, the "banco dell' opera," commonly called "Massaria." Upon such a seat sat anciently the four citizens elected by the Commune to attend to the interests of the Church governed by them.

Within this bench were preserved the diplomas, statutes, and arguments held to be most important to the greatness of the country. Anselmo de'

Fornari was helped by Elia de' Rocchi, and the commission was given to them jointly on January 30, 1500, on which date Cardinal della Rovere promised to pay 570 ducats towards the expenses.

[Illustration: _To face page 78._

Plate 36.--_Panel from lower row of Stalls, Cathedral, Savona._]

Another intarsiatore who worked with Fra Damiano was Giovanni Francesco Capo di ferro of Lovere, on Lake Iseo. His masterpiece is the choir of S. Maria Maggiore, Bergamo. When it was determined to commence it in 1521 the presidents of the church fabric sent to various cities of Italy, especially to Milan, to consult over the model to be selected for so important a work with the excellent painter and architect M. Bernardo Zenale da Treviglio. In the archives of the Misericordia is a book entitled "Fabbrica Chori," in which is noted the great expense of the designs only, among which were some made by Lorenzo Lotto, by Alessandro Bonvicini, called Il Moretto; Andrea Previtali, Giacomo de'

Scipioni, Filippo Zanchi, Giuseppe Belli, Domenico di Albano, Niccolino Cabrini, Pietro da Nembro, Francesco Boneri, and other painters, as well as the making of models and other similar operations. Those who worked at carving and tarsia under the direction of Giovanni Francesco were his son Zinino and Pietro his brother, who lived in Lodi; Paolo da Pesaro, and many others, including a whole family, Giovanni di Ponteranica and his four sons. The part towards the sacristy was designed by Lorenzo Lotto, the rest by Alessandro Belli. The sedilia on the Gospel side bear a signature hung from a tree, "Opus Jo: Franc: D. Cap. Ferr. Bergomi."

The four panels outside the screen are Noah entering the ark, the passage of the Red Sea, the triumph of Judith by the death of Holofernes, and the victory of David over Goliath. Thus Tassi speaks of them--"These, to speak the truth, for their admirable workmanship, singular art, and beautiful colouring, do not appear to be pieces of wood put together, but rather pictures formed by an excellent brush, the pieces placed with such mastery, and the woods of different colours to form the chiaroscuro so arranged with the darkening of others that they make the half-tints appear as if really painted with oil by the same Lotto who made the coloured designs, and as he was a celebrated and finished painter and a powerful one, thus certainly these pieces of wood put together could stand in face of paintings by the most celebrated brushes, which, beyond the exactness of drawing, gave to their works singular force and finish; for in them all the possible excellences of drawing and of art are displayed, and whoever has had the opportunity of well considering them has remained surprised and delighted, never believing that human art could reach so high a pitch of perfection." His last work is mentioned in 1533, two pictures of Samson, at 60 lire each.

In 1547 his son Zinino and his brother Giovanni Pietro went on with the choir, and finished it nine years later. The total cost for labour alone was 7000 lire Imperiali.

[Illustration: _To face page 80._

Plate 37.--_Panel from the Ducal Palace, Mantua._]

In Spain there must have been a good deal of intarsia done, seeing how long the Moors held the southern part of the country, but very little has come down to us. In the Mosque at Cordova was a finely inlaid mihrab of the 10th century, which was unfortunately destroyed in the 16th century and its material used to make an altar. In the Museum at South Kensington are some panels with Hispano-Moresque geometric inlays of bone of the 15th century, which are very pleasing; the ground is of chestnut, the bone is often stained green, and metal triangles and light wood are also used. This use of bone, which is frequently tinted, in conjunction with black and pale wood, is characteristic of Spanish work of the 16th century. The design is often exceedingly naive, employing birds, animals, plants, and trees, with scrolls and monsters.

There is one cabinet at South Kensington with the animals entering the ark, which is most entertaining. The Portuguese carried this work on later, especially at Goa, in the 17th century, but neither here nor in Spain is the later work tasteful, except occasionally. Cabinets were then made at Toledo of ebony and ivory, and at Seville and Salamanca the same materials were used for chests and sideboards.

At Burgos is a pulpit decorated with inlay as well as carving, and one of the most elaborate works of marquetry of comparatively modern times is Spanish. This consists of the decoration of four small rooms in the Escurial, upon which 28,000,000 reals (300,000) was spent in 1831. They are called "piezas de maderas finas," rooms of perfect or delicate woods, and are entirely covered with landscapes, still-life subjects, flowers, etc., made of the finest and most costly woods, and almost like paintings; floor, frieze, panels, window recesses, and doors.

There was a mode of decorating furniture much used in Spain and Portugal, especially the latter, in which metal plates, cut and pierced into elaborate and fanciful patterns, were fastened on to the surface of objects made of black wood by means of small pins. From this to the decoration of the same surfaces by sinking the metal in the wood is a short step, and some think that this was the origin of the metal inlay so well known a little later under the name of Boulle work.


[Illustration: Plate 38.--_Panel from the Rathaus, Breslau, 1563._

_To face page 84._]

In Germany there can be little doubt that the art first struck root in the southern part of the country, the towns which produced the earliest furniture and other objects decorated in this manner being Augsburg and Nuremberg. The first names of workers recorded, however, are those of the two brothers Elfen, monks of S. Michael at Hildesheim, who made altars, pulpits, mass-desks, and other church furniture for their monastery, ornamented with inlays, at the beginning of the 16th century, and Hans Stengel, of Nuremberg, but none of the inlaid work of either has come down to us. Two earlier pieces are figured by Hefner Alteneck, the harp already referred to on p. 8, and a folding seat of brown wood inlaid with ivory, stained yellow or light green, and black or dark brown wood, in oriental patterns, both of the latter part of the 14th or beginning of the 15th century. Two other names are mentioned as capable craftsmen in Nuremberg, Wolf Weiskopf and Sebald Beck; the latter died in 1546. The Augsburg work was much sought after, the "so-called mosaic work of coloured woods." The designs for the panels were generally made by painters, architectural and perspective subjects being most common, but flower pieces, views of towns, and historical compositions were also made. A German work thus characterises the later 16th century productions of this type--"A certain kind of intarsia becomes common in the German panelling and architectural woodwork; also in cabinets, vases, and arabesques, with tasteless ruins and architectural subjects with arabesque growths clinging all over them, of which examples may be seen in the museums at Vienna and Berlin, where one may also see works in ebony with engraved ivory inlays, which are generally more satisfactory. In German work, however, inlay was never of so much importance as carving, and the Baroque influence almost immediately affected the character of the design for the worse." At Dresden and Munich there were several celebrated inlayers in the 17th century, among whom may be named Hans Schieferstein, Hans Kellerthaler, of Dresden, and Simon Winkler, N. Fischer, and his son Johann Georg, of Munich, the last of whom, with his contemporary Adam Eck, practised relief intarsia, of which the latter is said to have been the inventor.

It was known in the art trade as "Prager arbeit," which was not a name which accurately described its origin. Panellings of walls and doors were often decorated with inlays, most frequently of arabesques, of which the town halls of Lubeck and Danzig furnish fine examples. The "Kriegsstube" at Lubeck was done by Antonius Evers, who in 1598-9 was master of the joiners' guild, with his companions. The Rathsaal at Luneburg was made in 1566-78, and the name of Albert von Soest is connected with it. Danzig, in the "Sommerrathstube," shows intarsias and decorations of 1596 in which the painter Vriedeman Vriese and a certain Simon Herle, probably a local man, collaborated. Other similar works may be seen at Brunswick and Breslau, at Ulm, in the Michel Hofkirche at Munich, and in the Cathedral at Mainz. At Coburg, in the so-called "Hornzimmer," are intarsias worked from the designs of Lucas Cranach and others, at Rothenburgh, at Geminden, at Landshut, and in many places in Tyrol and Steiermark, most of them much mixed with carving, too numerous to describe. The intarsias at the Hofkirche at Innsbruck, begun in 1560 by Conrad Gottlieb, may, however, be mentioned as being remarkably fine.

Schleswig Holstein is full of intarsias of the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century, of which perhaps the finest are in the chapel of the Castle of Gottorp. The princes' prayer chamber or pew is elaborately panelled, and the panels are all filled with inlays, mostly arabesques. The door and wall panels have elaborate architectural forms in relief with base, frieze, and pilasters; and are also fully inlaid with arabesques, counterchanged bay by bay. The ceiling is coffered, and the male and female patterns are counterchanged diagonally. Bosses of lions' heads and rosettes project from the surfaces of the beams, between which the intarsia panels are flat. The central features in the several divisions are sunk, a central oblong with an oval in centre bearing the subject of the Resurrection and two side diamonds. The panels surrounding these have raised mouldings, so that there is considerable variety of level, and the whole is raised on a bracketed cornice, the flat surface of which has small panels inlaid in the same fashion. It was put up in 1612 by Duke Johann Adolf of Schleswig Holstein and his wife, Augusta of Denmark.

[Illustration: Plate 39.--_Panel from Church of S. Mary Magdalene, Breslau._

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