Handmade Intarsia portrait using Spalted Hackberry, Black Walnut, Bubinga, Aspen, Red Alder and Poplar. You can see the life in his eyes on his weathered face. I considered leaving the hand rolled cigarette out but it really fits this piece. This piece measures about 12” high and 10” wide.
intarsia: 1) a mosaic of wood fitted and glued into a wooden support popular in 15th century Italy for decoration; 2) the art or process of making such work.
The technique of intarsia inlays sections of wood (at times with contrasting ivory or bone, or mother-of-pearl) within the solid stone matrix of floors and walls or on table tops and other furniture; by contrast marquetry assembles a pattern out of veneers glued upon the carcase. It is thought that the word ‘intarsia’ is derived from the Latin word ‘interserere’ which means “to insert”.
During its zenith, Intarsia was applied to nearly any surface imaginable – walls, ceilings and floors, furniture and jewelry boxes, even carriages for royalty. As Europe moved into the industrial age this art gradually began to fade.