Museal Renaissance Wedding Chest | 7th Tiberius Auction
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Museal Renaissance Wedding Chest

7th Tiberius Auction

Museal Renaissance Wedding Chest

After Sale Price:  32.864

  • BTC: 2,02277920 ฿
  • USD: 34.606 $
  • GBP: 28.181 £
  • CNY: 253.513 ¥

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Museal Renaissance Wedding Chest
Florence (Tuscany)
1440/50
“Cassone a pastiglia dorata con uccelli”
Softwood corpus
Decorations in gesso pastiglia
Length 178 cm, height 73 cm, depth 62 cm

This museum-quality wedding chest from the Renaissance is called a “cassone”, referring to large ornate chests from 14. to 16. century Italy that contained valuables such as luxurious fabrics. This chest was probably commissioned by the groom and given to his future wife. From the 15. century onwards, there were even special workshops that produced only cassoni, whereby these elaborate chests gradually replaced the painted chests made of ivory or leather and aroused the interest of the European elites in particular.

This exceptional chest has decorations in pastiglia with eagles, suns, and heraldic cartouches on the front, the sides, and the lid. The latter probably refer to the coming together of the two families, united by marriage. The pastiglia technique (Ital. “pastille” or “slip”) is a bas-relief decoration used for cassoni especially since the 14. century. These raised decorations were modelled on the wooden base with the help of a mould in gesso (white mixture for priming) and then polychromed or gilded by hand. The magnificent example shows ornamental decoration with birds inscribed in a geometric diamond pattern, which could be interpreted as magnificent eagles in flight. The serial decoration is probably derived from fabric patterns.

An earlier comparative example with a similar geometric lattice facade is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art from c. 1425-50 (inv. no. 1975.1.1938). The front is very similarly structured, yet almost completely gilded. In the masterly example presented here, an additional spatial depth is suggested by the dark background, which makes the gilded depictions of birds within the rays stand out even greater.

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