German. Second Quarter of the Eighteenth Century.


Sight size: Height 17 /14” (43.8 cm); Width: 22” (55.5 cm); Sight size: Height 17 /14” (43.8 cm); Width: 22” (55.5 cm); Sight size: Height 17 /14” (43.8 cm); Width: 22 3/8” (56.7 cm).

Sight size: Height 18” (45.2 cm); Width: 22” (55.4 cm);


Of various inlaid woods with painted decoration. Two panels depict views in Rome; the Piazza san Giovanni in Laterano and the Piazza dei Sante Apostoli, two show views in Venice; the Piazza San Marco and an as yet unidentified location. Now in modern crossbanded mahogany frames.

Panel depicting Piazza San Marco bears paper label to reverse:
Locus S. Marci venetus. De Plaets van S. Marrus de Venettiyan.
Franz Rienz. Tro (?)

Two of these four extraordinary marquetry views are signed by Franz Rientz on the reverse. The combination of intricate marquetry with painted skies and water effects used by Rientz on the present panels appears to have been unique to his oeuvre. The only other known examples of this type of work, are an elevated view of Schloss Mannheim, and the group bearing the engraved mark of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen family .

The view of Schloss Mannheim, in the collection of Mannheim Museum (figure 1), is strongly attributed to Rientz. It shares with the present views its distinctively painted sky and it is peopled with the same characteristic tiny painted figures.

The Hohenzollern Group contained one panel also signed on the back by Franz Rientz. A set of six of these was formerly in the collection of Carlton Hobbs. Each depicted a view of a royal house in Bavaria, and they were confirmed to have come from the collection of Friedrich Wilhelm, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.

Apart from the painted skies and water effects, which are virtually identical in all the Rientz pieces, the panels also all share a further important feature of this artist’s intarsia work, which is his use of various woods to create the illusion of textures and surfaces, such as different types of stone on the ground and in the facades of the buildings in these views. For example, on the unidentified Venetian view in the present set, Rientz makes use of tight maple burrs to represent part of a cornice of the large portico on the left, and dark mahogany to indicate the underside of an overhang on the same. Cedar is employed to represent marble on the columns. When depicting water, he uses a veneer with a meandering grain that is enhanced with layers of opaque glazes. This technique demonstrates the creative and imaginative qualities of Rientz’s craftsmanship as opposed to the more usual reliance among marqueteurs upon the etching and staining of woods to achieve textural contrast.

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.