Auction 77 20th Century Decorative Arts
Jun 16, 2020 (your local time)
 Piazza Lovatelli 1, 00186 Roma.
Tuesday june 2020, 4.30 pm CET.
The auction has ended

LOT 30:


Couple of vases, 30s/40s
Portoro marble, h. 51 cm
Portoro or ...

Sold for: €9,000
Start price:
Auction house commission: 27.5% More details


Couple of vases, 30s/40s
Portoro marble, h. 51 cm
Portoro or Portovenere marble is a fine variety of black marble from the Gulf of La Spezia area. Its very decorative aspect makes it suitable for artistic and valuable creations such as vases, columns, interiors of churches and palaces, coverings, floors and furniture floors. The color is intense and bright black with golden veins.
Geologically it is a limestone with carbonate veins formed in a calm, deep, little oxygenated and rich in organic substance marine environment. The black color is due precisely to the richness of organic substance while the golden streaks to the partial dolomitization of the organic substance which has oxidized.
The name Portoro derives from the Italian translation of the French term porte d'or ("golden door") with which it was called during the French domination. Originally it was called "yellow and black mixture", later it was called "Giada di Portovenere". In English this variety of marble is known as “black and gold”.
Portoro is found only in the province of La Spezia, in particular in the municipalities of Porto Venere, La Spezia and Riccò del Golfo which constitute delicate areas from a landscape and naturalistic point of view.
It is not known exactly when the beginning of the rational exploitation of Portoro marble deposits dates back, but it is already presumed to be in Roman times. In the ancient city of Luni, located between the provinces of La Spezia and Massa Carrara, shaped slabs of this marble were used while from the Etruscans came to us architectural works containing slabs and other small parts made of Portoro marble.
In Roman times, Portoro marble was widely used in the imperial villas and was probably also used in the construction of the temple dedicated to Venus which stood at the end of the promontory of Porto Venere and above which the church of San Pietro was built later.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the use of this marble also spread outside Liguria, particularly in France, Belgium and Switzerland to embellish palaces and castles such as those of Versailles, Marly and Compiegne. Later it was also exported to the United States where, for example, the Paramount projection room was lined.