Art of the Royal Court

Treasures in Pietre Dure from the Palaces of Europe

Wolfram Koeppe and Annamaria Giusti; With contributions by Cristina Acidini, Rudolf Distelberger, Detlef Heikamp, Jutta Kappel, Florian Knothe, and Ian Wardropper

View Inside Format: Cloth
Price: $65.00
YUPOut of Stock
Our shopping cart does not support Safari. Please use another browser before attempting to purchase.

This beautiful catalogue provides a comprehensive history of pietre dure, a virtuoso form of hardstone carving that reached an artistic peak in Italy in the 16th century and subsequently spread throughout Europe.


The demanding practice of pietre dure, first used in ancient times, enjoyed a spectacular revival in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. By artistic cutting, semiprecious stones—agate, lapis lazuli, chalcedony, and other colorful hardstones—were fashioned into extravagantly designed luxury objects such as table tops, wall panels, cabinets, and ornate display vessels. Both as objects of desire and as diplomatic gifts, these precious creations captivated the affluent societies of Europe. Art of the Royal Court presents 150 masterpieces of pietre dure, many of which are further embellished with gold and silver mounts or decorated with exotic woods and other coveted materials. 

Annamaria Giusti is Chief Curator at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure e Laboratori di Restauro, Florence. Wolfram Koeppe is curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art (July 1 – September 21, 2008)

"[The authors] combined expertise, together with the superb plates, makes this a fine resource on a ubiquitous art form of the European courtly milieu."—Reference & Research Book News 

“With eight introductory essays and 147 catalogue entries, this has become the most authoritative general account of the origins and development of pietre dure … Both the Metropolitan Museum and Yale University Press are to be congratulated on the high quality of the photography … It cannot be recommended enough to anyone who wishes for a sumptuous, well-constructed guide to this esoteric and princely art.” - Christopher Rowell, Apollo

"The catalogue, in its attention to detail, is a major advancement in the subject. Pietre dure are studied mainly in Europe and not much attention has been devoted to them in the United States...Thus it is the first time some of these pieces have been given any serious scholarship in English...The catalogue is a superbe effort to explain a complex subject."--Rachael Goldman, Sixteenth Century Journal
ISBN: 9780300136722
Publication Date: July 30, 2008
Co-publisher: Published in association with The Metropolitan Museum of Art
428 pages, 9 x 12
35 b/w + 272 color illus.
Vienna Circa 1780

An Imperial Silver Service Rediscovered

Wolfram Koeppe

View details
European Sculpture, 1400-1900

in The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Ian Wardropper

View details
The Silver Caesars

A Renaissance Mystery

Edited by Julia Siemon; With essays by Ellenor Alcorn, Mary

View details
Making Marvels

Science and Splendor at the Courts of Europe

Edited by Wolfram Koeppe

View details