History of marble
The marble has been used since ancient times as a material for sculpture and for architecture. The low refractive index of calcite, the main component, allows light to « penetrate » the surface of the stone before it is reflected, and gives this material (and especially white marbles) a special luminosity.
The term « marble » derives from the Greek marmaros, which means « resplendent stone », in antiquity it indicated any « lustrable » stone, that is to say, the surface of which could be lustered by means of polishing.
Geology of marbles
Marbles (in the modern sense) are initially hard, metamorphic limestones with very low porosity; They are all of lower « Devonian » or lower « Carboniferous » age and deposited in an interval of 50 million years, between 380 and 330 million years. Subsequent to their deposition, they would have undergone a complete crystallization under the influence of physico-chemical phenomena called « metamorphism », in which the pressure, temperature and action of vapors from the deep parts of the globe intervene.
Ancient Greece possessed many marble quarries, with many precious varieties of ancient white marbles (Thasos, Paros, Naxos, Pentelic).
Marble was therefore widely diffused since the beginnings of Greek art.
The Greek temples originally made of wood, covered with baked clay painted in bright colors will gradually be built in marble (in the Cyclades) or in gray limestone (in the Peloponnese) thus reaching exceptional and monumental dimensions. In this new architecture, everything from stone, including framework, functional elements, reach a purely decorative value. The ringlets of the columns, which were originally the straps of wooden columns, become simple decorations.
The use in classical architecture is spreading, mainly from the monuments and temples of the Acropolis of Athens from the 5th century BC. not. È.
The Parthenon is entirely built in blocks of pentelic marble.
The Roman marbles
Influenced by Greek culture, marble was regarded in ancient Rome as a particularly precious material, and as new territories were conquered, Rome began to import. The high cost of transporting quarries, which were often far away from the place of employment, initially made it a luxury material, which was used for public monuments or for the rich interior decoration of private homes.
At the time of the Roman Republic, the first temples built entirely of white marble (2nd century BC, the temple of Victorian Hercules at the Forum Boarium) used marbles imported from the Greek quarries, (Greece became a Roman province in 146 BC) with the intention of impressing the « public » with the massive use of this very costly and culturally significant material.
Also during the 2nd century BC. Began the quarrying of Luni (the hamlet of Ortonovo, now known as « Carrara marble »), which represented a good quality substitute for the white marble imported from Greece. But the reputation of marble as a luxury material did not change.
The Modern Marbles
It was towards the 15th and 16th centuries that the taste for marble regained vigor, thanks to the Renaissance, whether it was Italian (Rinascimento) and then French. The glorious reigns of the sovereign Medici of Tuscany completely raised the use of marble. Michelangelo had recognized and proved that the study of antiquity was the true guide to good taste in the art of sculpture. The construction of the church of St. Peter at Rome showed the fortunate advantage of the ancient marbles. Rome, Florence and Pisa became famous by their own ruins. The Medici rediscovered the marble throughout Europe.
In France, marble took on a political dimension and became a national identity. Louis XIV had the castle of Versailles built using the finest materials and the most expensive of the kingdom. « Louis XIV wanted to make Versailles the showcase of France, a political and diplomatic showcase first, an artistic and technological showcase later, a showcase of know-how » (Citation). Colbert superintendent of the king made the lost or unrecognized careers search for the Pyrenees, the Languedoc, Provence, etc… to find all nuances of marbles that made the success of the French careers.
But the marble of very high quality !
Vary in her its colorations and tones !
Expensive because rarer !
Synonymous of wealth !
Will remain forever…
The Italian Marble
The Marble RESIMARMO®
The marbles of RESIMARMO® are extracted and treaties exclusively in Italy. This characteristic assures a precise control of the different stages of treatment. Different types exist in the world, but they don’t have an as large range of colors nor such features. You will find the main RESIMARMO® colors below for the markets in Europe.