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The Capitoline Doves

Plaque
1801 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

These doves, known as the Capitoline Doves or Doves of Pliny, appear frequently as the subject of micromosaics. The image comes from a Roman floor mosaic discovered in 1737 at Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli, which in turn is believed to be a copy of a lost ancient Greek mosaic at Pergamon. The original is described by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, completed in 77AD.

The term 'micromosaic' is used to describe mosaics made of the smallest glass pieces. Some micromosaics contain more than 5000 pieces per square inch. The earliest attempts at micromosaic revealed visible joins between the pieces (known as tesserae) and a lack of perspective. Later artists such as Antonio Aguatti made huge advances in micromosaic technique, resulting in renderings that were truer to life. Glass micromosaic technique developed in the 18th century, in the Vatican Mosaic Workshop in Rome, where they still undertake restoration work today.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Plaque
  • Frame
Materials and Techniques
Micromosaic and gold frame
Brief Description
Circular miniature micromosaic depicting the Capitoline Doves, Rome. Giacamo Raffaelli, 1801.
Physical Description
Circular plaque with a cnetral image of four doves, the Capitoline doves or the Doves of Pliny, seated on the edge pf a two-handled gold basin of water which rests on a square plinth on a flat surface below a black background. Signed on the reverse by the artist and surrounded by a gold frame.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 7cm
Gallery Label
7. Plaque with Doves of Pliny 1801 Rome, Italy; signed and dated by Giacomo Raffaelli (1753–1836) Glass micromosaic Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.194:1-2008(16/11/2016)
Credit line
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Object history
Provenance: J. Kugel, Paris, 1974.
Subjects depicted
Summary
These doves, known as the Capitoline Doves or Doves of Pliny, appear frequently as the subject of micromosaics. The image comes from a Roman floor mosaic discovered in 1737 at Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli, which in turn is believed to be a copy of a lost ancient Greek mosaic at Pergamon. The original is described by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, completed in 77AD.



The term 'micromosaic' is used to describe mosaics made of the smallest glass pieces. Some micromosaics contain more than 5000 pieces per square inch. The earliest attempts at micromosaic revealed visible joins between the pieces (known as tesserae) and a lack of perspective. Later artists such as Antonio Aguatti made huge advances in micromosaic technique, resulting in renderings that were truer to life. Glass micromosaic technique developed in the 18th century, in the Vatican Mosaic Workshop in Rome, where they still undertake restoration work today.



Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.
Bibliographic References
  • Wilson, J. 'Collecting Mosaics Piece by Piece'. Realities, 1980, no. 11.
  • Gonzalez-Palacios, Alvar and Steffi Röttgen with essays by Steffi Röttgen, Claudia Przyborowski; essays and new catalogue material translated by Alla Theodora Hall. The Art of Mosaics: Selections from the Gilbert Collection. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1982. 224 p., ill. Cat. no. 28. ISBN 0875871097
  • Fields, Mary Durland. 'The Phantom Art of Micromosaics'. Miniature Collector, October 1983, no. 39, ill. p. 47.
  • Ravel, Emilio. 'The Traditional Art of Mosaics'. Ulisse 2000, October/November 1986, Anno VI, no. 23, p. 105.
Other Numbers
  • MM 162 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • MM 2 - Arthur Gilbert Number
Collection
Accession Number
LOAN:GILBERT.194:1, 2-2008

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record createdJune 26, 2008
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