Early 19th century micromosaic pictures of butterflies set on a green malachite block

Early 19th century micromosaic picture of a butterfly set on a green malachite blockBeautiful living creatures have long been the inspiration for art and decorative works. There are many amazing examples of this in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Here, minute pieces or tesserae made of coloured glass, various stones including marble, and lapis lazuli, have been used to create pictures of butterflies and  birds, that have been set into a large specimen block of fantastically figured green malachite. Butterflies in Greek and Roman mythology symbolised the soul leaving the body at the moment of death. This ornament is an early 19th century example, probably made in Rome by Giacomo Raffaelli. Before this, malachite was rarely seen outside of Russia which is its country of origin.


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