Objets de  Vertu; an introduction

The Italian word "virtý", its principal meaning being moral virtue, was originally used to attribute some kind of value to conduct or action. 

In the 17th century in the Italian language the meaning of the word shifted and moved towards the concept of beauty when art was concerned. 

The words "virtý" and "virtuoso" appear in the European vocabulary of literature and fine arts. Also the French word "vertu" can then be found in many travel diaries from this period.

During the 18th century in the language of arts gradually the word "vertu" gets again another meaning. It is no longer used to indicate a great artist or a masterpiece but "vertu" has become the term that is predominantly used by artists and collectors for a certain type of objects which are subsequently called "objets the vertu".

What are now those "objets de vertu"? A large number of different expressions of decorative art, of small to medium format, can be identified as "objets the vertu". A general characteristic is that they are small masterpieces of taste and originality, made by highly qualified craftsmen who applied all their professional skills and talents for the manufacturing of objects of beauty.






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