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Currently on view at: Getty Center, Museum East Pavilion, Gallery E103
Architectural scene and frame
Wilhelm Fistulator (German, died 1669, active 1602)
Frame maker Unknown
German and Italian
South Germany Germany Italy (Place created)
plaque about 1650; frame 1730 - 1740
Plaque: scagliola; Frame: ebonized wood with gilt bronze mounts
43.5 x 50 cm (17 1/8 x 19 11/16 in.)
This vibrant architectural scene is a tour de force of illusionism and perspective. It is made of scagliola, a mixture of stucco, glue, and colorants put on a stucco surface and intended to imitate the more expensive and technically demanding medium of commesso or stone mosaic. Scagliola was also preferred because it allowed for a more painterly rendering. The plaque depicts a classic Renaissance coffered arcade that recedes to a landscape of other Italianate buildings and a park. Imitation marble is used here to depict real marble buildings, and linear perspective creates the illusion of a three-dimensional scene. Perspective prints and stage-set designs published in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries inspired this picturesque scene. The tricks of perspective exemplify the Baroque interest in illusion and theatricality. The plaque may have been originally planned for insertion in a piece of furniture or to be framed and hung on the wall.