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Chest (cassone)

Location

ITALY

Title

Chest (cassone)

Date

About 1460

Materials

Cedar (?) flat-carved, engraved and punched decoration, traces of pigment, iron

Dimensions

56.5 x 206.5 x 64 cm

Credits

Gift of Robert Ferretti di Castelferretto, inv. 1998.46

Collection

Decorative Arts and Design

The cassone, or storage chest, remained an essential piece of furniture until the end of the Renaissance, when it was gradually superseded by the chest of drawers. Often made for an impending marriage, a cassone might contain the bride’s trousseau: sometimes, they were made in pairs bearing the armorial devices of the families to be united.

The pictorial elements of this piece were delineated by fine lines engraved in the wood in flat relief on a punched background, which was filled in with a coloured paste. The Fountain of Life, an appropriate subject for a marriage chest, is depicted here in a courtly style, whose details, compressed space and composition reflect the influence of Veronese artist Pisanello and Venetian artists working in the first half of the fifteenth century.

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