'Return from the Market'
White and grey marble, onyx, gabbro and albarese limestone with gilded wood frame
Mario Montelatici (1894-1974)
Arte del Mosaico workshop, Florence, Italy
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.75:1, 2-2008
This work was part of a commission by the American heiress and art patron Marjorie Merriweather Post, and is one of Mario Montelatici's most impressive works. The subject is derived from a painting by Stefano Bruzzi (1835-1911) that received a prize in the 1888 Parma Exhibition.
Montelatici had great skill in exploiting Tuscan marbles and hardstones, using the naturally occurring variations in colour and tone to reflect the movement and mood of the scene. The success of the picture was dependent on the colours of the stones. Finding the right stones could involve a long, and often expensive, search even before any stones were purchased. The grey bardiglio marble has white veins that realistically evoke the stormy skies, and white carrara marble has been used to depict the snow on the street. The resulting mosaic is made using finely cut stones, which are carefully fitted together to give detail to the figures and create the effects of light and shadow.