The Prado houses a select collection of Italian Renaissance paintings executed on slate or white marble. These extremely fragile works by Sebastiano del Piombo, Titian and the Bassanos reflect the shift in artistic techniques that came about in the early decades of the 16th century. This period also saw the emergence of characteristically Renaissance aesthetic and philosophical concepts: the reproduction of new pictorial effects; the codification of the perception of the natural world in classic texts; the paragone with sculpture; and the desire for immortality. This exhibition is the result of an in-depth study undertaken with the support of other disciplines including natural history, geology and archaeology.
The accompanying catalogue includes an essay by Ana González Mozo, researcher in the Technical Documentation Department of the Museo del Prado and curator of the exhibition, which offers an in-depth analysis of the origins of the use of rocks and minerals in painting and of the theoretical and artistic reasons why they began to be used as supports for painting, focusing on the period when artists employed monochrome stones, between 1530 and 1555.
The catalogue also includes texts by specialists involved in the research project, an extensive bibliography and name index.