Furniture Styles

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Types of Renaissance Art


This style of ornament consisted of ancient and modern arms, musical and mathematical instruments, and open books; they are generally painted in yellow cameo on a blue ground. These plates were chiefly sold in the province (Castel Durante) in which they were manufactured, one ducal crown a hundred being the sum paid to the painters of them. This style was much affected by the Cinque-centisti in marble and stone: witness the monument to Gian Galeazzo Visconti, in the Certosa, Pavia, and portions of the Genoese doorway we engrave.


Arabesques were ornaments consisting of a sort of cipher, loosely tied, and interlacing knots and bouquets. Work thus ornamented was sent to Venice and Genoa, and obtained one ducal florin the hundred.


Cerquate was a name given to the interlacing of oak-branches, painted in a deep yellow upon a blue ground; it was called the "Urbino painting", from the oak being one of the bearings of the ducal arms. This kind of decoration received fifteen gros the hundred; and when, in addition, the bottom of the plate was ornamented, by having some little story painted upon it, the artist received one petit ecu.

Pedestal forming part of a Doorway of the Palace, presentel by the Genoese to Andrea Doria.


Grotesques were the interlacing of winged male and female monsters, with their bodies terminated by foliations or branches. These fanciful decorations were generally painted in white cameo upon a blue ground; the payment for them being two ecus the hundred, unless they were painted on commission from Venice, when the price was eight ducal livres.


This ornament consisted of a few branches of leaves, small in size, and sprinkled over the ground. Their price was three livres.

Flowers and Fruits

These very pleasing groups were sent to Venice, and the artists received for them five livres the hundred. Another variety of the same style merely consisted in three or four large leaves, painted in one color upon a different-colored ground. Their price was half a florin the hundred.


Porcelain was the name of a style of work which consisted of the most delicate blue flowers, with small leaves and buds painted upon a white ground. This kind of work obtained two or more livres the hundred. It was, in all probability, an imitation of Portuguese importations.


Tratti were wide bands, knotted in different ways, with small branches issuing from them. Their price was also two livres the hundred.


Soprabianco was a painting in white upon a white-lead ground, with green or blue borders round the margin of the plate. These obtained a demi-ecu the hundred.


In this pattern the artist divided the bottom of the plate into six or eight rays, diverging from the centre to the circumference; each space was of a particular color, upon which were painted bouquets of different tints. The painters received for this kind of ornament two livres the hundred.


These were broad bands interwoven with small flowers. This pattern was larger than the "tratti", and was sometimes embellished by a little picture in the centre of the plate: in that case the price of a demi-ecu, but without it only two jules.


This ornament was an upright bouquet extending from one side of the plater to the other, the space on each side being filled up with scattered leaves and flowers. The price of the candelabri was two florins the hundred. The adjoining woodcut shows how common, how early, and how favourite a subject this was with the best artists of the Cinquecento.

Portions of the Pilaster of a Doorway in the Palace at Genoa, presented by the Genoese to Andrea Doria.

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