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Detroit Institute of Arts

A style or decoration emerged in northeast Italy in the late 15th century known as certosina. It is named after the celebrated Carthusian monastery, Certosa di pavia, where the monks practiced the craft of piecing together small geometric parts in a pattern to cover larger surfaces. The work looks very Islamic and it is no surprise that it would have developed in this part of Italy, as this was the area that had the most trade with the eastern world.

This beautiful cabinet in the Detroit Institute of Arts has the formal structure of European furniture. And then it is covered, inside and out, with courtesan of wood and ivory. There are thousands of pieces in the design and the amount of labor must have been enormous.

Post Series: Italian intarsia
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