A polychrome marble tempietto

THE PROCEEDS FROM THIS LOT WILL BE DONATED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF EUROPEAN SCULPTURE AND DECORATIVE ARTS, METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, TO FUND FUTURE ACQUISITIONS

Rich in color and of noble and classic proportions, this tempietto is emblematic of the dazzling achievements in Renaissance Florence of marble and hardstone inlay as well as of architecture. Although Florentine stone carvers were producing such sophisticated work throughout the 16th century, it was not until 1588, under Ferdinando de' Medici, that their workshops were unified into the state Grand Ducal workshops known as the Galleria dei Lavori. These are still active today as the Opificio delle Pietre Dure.

While the Strozzi coat-of-arms applied to the sides are almost certainly 19th century additions, they nevertheless point to the Florentine origins of this piece.

Signature: The domed superstructure above a single arched opening, now filled, and flanked by two recessed alcoves, each later-inlaid with the Strozzi coat-of-arms, the back unfinished and open, probably formerly a tabernacle or reliquary stand

Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, London, 3 July 2007, lot 1.