the Medici Blue convex mirror

In Mirrors by Mark Evans

The Medici Blue convex mirror is all about the color blue and, specially, lapis-lazuli. This silver gilded frame is stacked with rich blue Venetian glass rods. Anchoring the points of the star are spheres of lapis along with sodalite and agate.

The Medici Blue convex mirror measures about 12.75 inches in diameter. It hangs in my studio pending being shipped to one of my showrooms.

Jewelry for Walls!

Whenever I am in Florence I make a point to going to the Museo Argenti which is the treasure house of the Medici dynasty. Among the many sumptuous objects of ivory, amber, coral and rock crystal one of the most distinctive materials used is lapis-lazuli. Clearly the Medicis had a thing for this beautiful mineral.

The rare and precious blue stone, which seemed to contain golden veins and evoked the sparkling sea and the starry night sky, came from the far East. It was extracted from the quarries of Sar-e-Sang, in the mountains of Badakhshan (now Afghanistan), the only known deposit in the ancient world, and was a symbol of wealth, along with gold, silver and other precious metals.

This lapis lazuli vase( 1583) in the shape of a classic urn stands out for its sheer size as well as its extraordinary design, supplied by the court architect Bernardo Buontalenti. Two unique handles are formed by winged, fish-tailed sphinxes, on which have been mounted two elegant female figures, united by a band of enamelled gold around the vase’s neck. The metalwork was done at the Medici workshop by the Flemish goldsmith Jacopo Bilivert, while the stone carving was executed by Gian Stefano Caroni.
Lapis lazuli is a notoriously brittle medium for detailed carving, but the highly specialized Florentine grand-ducal workshops overcame many challenges as they fashioned and assembled hardstones. This portrait of Cosimo de’ Medici( made around 1568) is more generalized than those on the medals it is based on, no doubt owing to the extra caution that had to be taken with the drilling.

For more on the connection between the Medicis and lapis-lazuli go to https://www.uffizi.it/en/events/lapis-lazuli-blue2015