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A work made of boxwood and ebony.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of boxwood and ebony.




Pietro Piffetti
Italian, c. 1700-1777
Turin, Italy

About this artwork

As the foremost Italian cabinetmaker of the 18th century, Pietro Piffetti was in the service of the royal House of Savoy for over 40 years. This prie-dieu—a kneeling bench used at home for personal devotion—was most likely made for the youngest son of King Carl Emmanuel III of Sardinia, for use in the Palace of Venaria, the family’s hunting lodge outside Turin. A door in the center of the prie-dieu conceals a small cabinet for a rosary and prayer books, and the drawer at the base would have held a padded kneeler. The interior of the cabinet retains its original pink paint; popular in the mid-18th century, the color pink did not yet have the feminine associations it does today.

Piffetti’s works are remarkable for their technical skill. The surface of this prie-dieu is made up of thin pieces (veneers) of boxwood and ebony assembled to form an intricate geometric pattern—a technique known as parquetry.


On View, Gallery 233


Applied Arts of Europe


Pietro Piffetti




Turin (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Boxwood and ebony


86.7 × 77.8 × 58.5 cm (34 1/8 × 30 5/8 × 23 in.)

Credit Line

Mary Waller Langhorne Memorial Fund; purchased with funds provided by Kay and Frederick Krehbiel; Irish Gala Purchase Fund; purchased with funds provided by John W. and Patricia O'Brien and Gayle Tilles; Neville and John Bryan Fund

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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