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Florentine Mosaics.

The Magic of Stone Pictures

Situated a few steps from the renowned Accademia, in via Alfani 78, this small museum known as the Factory Museum is an absolute MUST.

It is both a museum and one of the most important Italian institutions dedicated to the restoration of works of art. At the end of the 16th century, Great Prince Ferdinand 1st commissioned the foundation of a factory dedicated to the production of what would be known as the Florentine mosaics or “commesso”. An ingenious mosaic where the overall picture is achieved by the perfect juxtaposition of numerous sections of stones ensuring a flawless connection of all the parts.

These extremely sophisticated mosaics were often called stone pictures because they were able to reproduce different types of paintings: from portraits to landscapes, from still life paintings to historic paintings – all with a seemingly easy versatility – thanks to the mastering of a laborious technique.

Florence in the 1600 and 1700’s had already ceded its place as the capital of art. However, it banked its international prestige on this incredible and innovative technique of mosaic pictures to the extent that the teaching of it was banned outside the city walls.

The story of this art is superbly narrated in this museum – not only chronologically but also through the reconstruction of period workshops using the machines employed in the cutting and shaping of the stones.

This tour takes us to baroque Florence where we can admire a technique which still exists today and is unique to Florence.

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