Summary to Edition 2.0
What you have
seen and read in this database is a compilation of many of the artists who
have produced stone to stone artwork (commessi di pietre dure e tenere).
This database is still a work in progress. Since many of the artists have
passed away, additional research is necessary for a complete accounting
of this form of art. Also, there have been hundreds of Native Americans
who have created beautiful works of art, and hundreds more who still are
producing fine art. Therefore, much more documentation is needed, and when
Edition 2.0 is completed, several new images, more artists (many of whom
are deceased) and upgrades of the artwork enclosed will be featured. This
edition will take several more years to finish.
in the Introductions file, the purpose of this database is to give this
form of creativity the Fine Art status it once held during the more culturally
enlightened European Renaissance. Commessi, intarsia, inlay, and jewelry
making all were and still are fine arts. It is ironic that to some scholars
in many parts of the art world, using lost wax techniques of sculpture that
involve bronze and plastic resins, or fabricating constructions of sheet
metal are considered art whereas if the same techniques are used, but silver
or gold is the medium, these people consider it craft or merely decoration.
In the same way, if a sculptor creates a piece of work in clay, wood or
soft stone (pietre tenere), such as marble, alabaster, or soapstone, it
is considered as fine art, whereas if an artist uses a much more difficult
and time consuming media such as hard stone (pietre dure), ruby, sapphire,
jade, quartz, agate, jasper, etc., it is called merely carving and relegated
to craft shows or exhibits in Natural History Museum Mineralogy Departments.
Furthermore, if an artist using hard stones, sometimes mixing them with
the hardest of soft stones (marbles), creates an image indistinguishable
from that which the use of powdered stone (paint) produces, many people
for the most part don't even know what it is, and the few that may be aware
of this art form, denigrate it as just a craft done by hobbyists. It is
also interesting to note that some of the most beautiful fine artwork created
in America is done by Native Americans, whether it be jewelry, pottery,
textiles or painting and sculpture; it is still delegated away from the
Fine Art Museums and into Folk Art or Anthropological Museum settings.
reviewing the images in this database, one would come to the logical conclusion
that although hobbyists or semi-skilled artisans did some of the work, much
more of this artwork was produced by Fine Artists of the highest skill levels
and artistic judgment. Therefore, these artists deserve recognition for
their permanent (stone artwork will last for millions of years) contributions
to culture and for the delight they give to all of those who see the results
of their labors. So even though some of the works may be crude, at the very
least they are the crown jewels of American Folk Art. The works which are
of the highest caliber, many of the commessi, jewelry, and inlay within
this database as well as the many masterpieces of gem sculpture are the
crown jewels of American Fine Art.