Della Valle Brothers
The Livorno workshop of Della Valle brothers Pietro and Giuseppe, garnered the greatest recognition between the fourth and fifth decades of the 19th century. Their production is characterized mainly, by the use of black slate or white marble supports covered with scagliola and decorated with pictorial panels skillfully depicting Italy’s most famous places and monuments. Pietro Della Valle. (Leghorn, 1819 (1816?) – Florence 1880). Painter, decorator, landscape painter, master painter, brother of architect Angiolo, and painter Giuseppe, came from a well-known family of Leghorn artists. It was his father who taught him the workmanship of scagliola, a refined inlay technique that imitates marble and semi-precious stones by mixing chalk (scagliola, precisely), natural glues, and colored pigments to make table tops and other elegant furnishings. (source euripides7)
The production, characterized by the particular refined and translucent technique, was also highly appreciated internationally; many then were the European travelers on the Grand Tour who purchased his works.
Pietro opened an artisan workshop (joined by his brother Giuseppe from 1838).
He made his debut as a painter with a painting of a shipwreck, a theme dear to his heart and repeatedly repeate.
Pietro Della Valle creates fine objects, preferring richly ornamented historical and landscape themes, such as the table with History on the Public Life of Columbus, exhibited in Florence in 1860.
Naufragio sulla costa d’Antignano
La squadra italiana festeggia il plebiscito di Roma al Golfo della Spezia
Romantic and landscape views always remained his favorite subject: he ranged from Liguria to Tuscany and Latium, from Abruzzo to Calabria (Il Trasimeno veduto dai boschi presso S. Albino, Naufragio presso Livorno, Prati e pinete di Suese, awarded a gold medal at the Parma Exposition), re-proposing even in his scagliola works his favorite themes, frequently combining the study of landscape with great compositional freedom. In the geometric partitioning of the plane, he inserts his landscapes into a frame (usually vegetal): sometimes of bucolic taste, with mountains, meadows, woods and streams, at other times he chooses city views and monuments of classicism. The circular top of a small table (part of the furnishings of the La Petraia residence, owned by the Medici since the 16th century), decorated with a landscape and framed by a frieze of green leaves, is attributed to him; also attributed to his workshop is the rectangular top depicting Piazza dei Miracoli, enclosed in a frame with swans and fruit, which went to auction at Christie's, and the round one,with a view of St. Peter's Square, auctioned at Sotheby's. Toward the end of his career, well known and established, he was commissioned to paint the plastic-pictorial decoration of the vault of Villa Mimbelli in Livorno, (now home to the Museo Civico Giovanni Fattori), which Pietro completed with the collaboration of his brother Giuseppe. His works are in important private collections and major museums, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (source euripides7)
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