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Prie-Dieu

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

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  • A work made of boxwood and ebony.

Date:

1759

Artist:

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

European Decorative Art, Gallery 233

Artist

Pietro Piffetti

Title

Prie-Dieu

Origin

Turin

Date

1759

Medium

Boxwood and ebony

Dimensions

87 × 78 × 58 cm (34 1/4 × 30 3/4 × 22 1/3 in.)

Credit Line

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

Reference Number

2016.117

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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