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.
- Pietro Piffetti
- Boxwood and ebony
- 87 × 78 × 58 cm (34 1/4 × 30 3/4 × 22 1/3 in.)
- Mary Waller Langhorne Memorial Fund; restricted gift of Kay and Fred Krehbiel; Irish Gala Purchase Fund; restricted gifts of John W. and Patricia O'Brien and Gayle Tilles; Neville and John Bryan Fund