chapter  3
29 Pages

Controversial continuities

Giacinto Gimma and the art of marble intarsia *
WithJoris van Gastel

Giacinto Gimma's book comprises one of the most comprehensive overviews of the early modern debate on geology. Like Pliny, Gimma conceives of the arts from a natural history framework. For Gimma many art forms waver between painting and sculpture, while nature itself, as another "agent," appears to cut through these categories. Gimma recounts how artists confirm that the manner in which a stone is cut is largely determined by its grain, a grain that, then, is directly resulting from the manner in which the stone came into being. For Gimma, gems – "sparkling between minerals as the stars in the sky and flowers in a field" – are the "most noble and beautiful" of all things created by God for the use of men, and as such they reflect the creation as a whole.