Intarsia is a form of wood inlaying that is similar to marquetry. The term is also used for a similar technique used with small, highly polished stones (see pietre dure). The technique of intarsia inlays sections of wood (at times with contrasting ivory or bone) within the solid matrix; by contrast marquetry assembles a pattern out of veneers upon the carcase. The technique of intarsia is believed to have developed in the Islamic world; introduced into Europe through Sicily, the art was perfected in Siena and in northern Italy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, spreading to German centers and introduced into London by Flemish craftsmen in the later sixteenth century. After about 1620, marquetry tended to supplant intarsia in urbane work.

It is the craft of using varied shapes, sizes and species of wood fitted together to create an almost 3-D inlaid, mosaic-like picture. It is thought that the word 'intarsia' is derived from the Latin word 'interserere' which means "to insert" and that it was originally developed in Siena, Italy in the 13th century by crafters using inlays of ivory inserted in wood as well as inlays of wood inserted into wall murals, table tops and other furniture (See : Duomo di Siena).

Today, intarsia is created by selecting different types of wood, using its natural grain patterns and colors (rather than dyes and stains) to create the different colors in the pattern. Each piece of wood is then individually cut , shaped, and sanded before fitting them together like a jig-saw puzzle and gluing them to a piece of 1/4 inch plywood backing cut to the shape of the final product. Sometimes, additional pieces of plywood are used to raise areas of the pattern to create more depth. Once together, a final layer of finish is applied and the project is complete.

Marble intarsia ("opere di commessi"), called "pietra dura" in English for the semi-precious hardstones combined with colored marbles that are employed, is an intarsia of coloured stones inlaid in white or black marble. Early examples in Florence date from the mid fifteenth century and reached a peak of refinement and complexity in revetments of the Medici Chapel, produced under Medici patronage in the "Opificio delle Pietre Dure", which was established by Ferdinando I de’ Medici. Later complex designs and refinement of the art developed in Naplescirca the beginning of the 17th century The floor of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome is a particularly notable example of marble intarsia. Later this form of decoration became a feature of baroque interior design, particularly so in the Sicilian Baroque designs following the earthquake of 1693.


* [ Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence] , an institute of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage
* [ Jackson, F. Hamilton, "Intarsia and Marquetry", (London: Sands & Co.) 1903] excerpt

See also

* Cosmati
* Cosmatesque
* Lathart
* Pietra dura

External links

* [ LathArt How to and Patterns] Good Lath Art Site
* [ Scrollsaw Association of the World website]
* [ Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts] How To Magazine for Scroll Saw Enthusiasts and Wood Crafters

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • intarsia — intarsiá vb., ind. prez. 1 sg. intarsiéz, 3 sg. şi pl. intarsiáză Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa: Dicţionar ortografic  INTARSIÁ vb. tr. 1. a încrusta; a lucra în marchetărie. 2. a broda cu fire diferite. 3. (fig …   Dicționar Român

  • Intarsĭa — (Intarsiatura, ital., Marketerie, Holzmosaik), eingelegte Arbeit in Holz, die zuerst im 15. Jahrh. in Italien geübt wurde und von da nach Frankreich und im 16. Jahrh. nach Deutschland kam, wo sie ebenfalls in ausgedehntem Maß bei Dekoration von… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Intarsia — Intarsia, s. Kunstgewerbe …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Intarsia — Intarsĭa, Intarsiatūr (ital.), eingelegte Arbeit, Marketerie, die kunstvolle Einlegung von Holz (Ebenholz) in anders von verschiedener Farbe; so bes. in Italien im 15. und 16. Jahrh., namentlich für Chorstühle, Wandvertäfelung u. dgl. geübt. Seit …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • intarsia — [in tär′sē ə] n. [It intarsio < intarsiare, to inlay, incrust < in , in + Ar tarṣi, inlay work < raṣṣaʼa, to inlay] a style of decorative or pictorial inlay, esp. of the Italian Renaissance, involving a mosaic of wood pieces or,… …   English World dictionary

  • Intarsia — Figura geométrica (1537), intarsia por fra Damiano da Bergamo; Museo de la Basilica de San Dominico, Bolonia, Italia. La intarsia es un tipo de decoración que se realiza incrustrando pequeñas piezas de diferentes colores de madera o de otros… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Intarsia — L intarsia apparaît au XVéme siècle pour la décoration des édifices religieux. L intarsia est un procédé italien mixte, qui relève de la menuiserie puisque son décor est incrusté dans un panneau de bois massif, mais également de l ébénisterie… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • intarsia —    Inlay work, primarily in wood and sometimes in mother of pearl, ivory, bone, marble, etc. This may result in either pattern or picture. To construct intarsia, outline drawings are used as templates for cutting many pieces of thin material. The …   Glossary of Art Terms

  • intarsia — intarsiate /in tahr see ayt , it/, adj. /in tahr see euh/, n. an art or technique of decorating a surface with inlaid patterns, esp. of wood mosaic, developed during the Renaissance. Also, tarsia. [1860 65; alter. (influenced by It tarsia) of It… …   Universalium

  • Intarsia — Intarsie, auch: Intarsia »Einlegearbeit aus andersfarbigem Holz, Elfenbein, Metall o. Ä.«: Das Fremdwort wurde im 19. Jh. aus gleichbed. it. intarsio entlehnt. Dies gehört zu gleichbed. it. tarsia, das auf arab. tarṣī᾿ »das Besetzen (mit… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.