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Case (étui) with an amorous inscription

Date:
1450–1500
Geography:
Made in Italy
Culture:
Italian
Medium:
Leather (Cuir bouilli), wood core, red cord
Dimensions:
Overall (case only): 8 1/4 x 3 1/8 x 3 1/4 in. (20.9 x 8 x 8.2 cm) Overall (with strap extended): 15 9/16 x 3 1/8 x 3 1/4 in. (39.6 x 8 x 8.2 cm)
Classification:
Leatherwork
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1950
Accession Number:
50.53.1
  • Description

    The inscription in relief on the leather-"In good faith, I love you with a true heart" (the word "heart" is represented by a heart shape)-shows that this case was a love token or betrothal gift. Made from the stiffened leather known as cuir bouilli, it probably was made to carry writing tools. Similar cases can be seen in painted representations of scholars' studios, or studioli; one appears in an intarsia panel from the studiolo of Federico da Montefeltro, originally installed in his palace in Gubbio and now displayed in the Museum.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: (in raised letters, on box) may be read as: A BONA FEDE TE AMO DEL BON heartshape [CUORE?]; trans. In good faith I love thee with a good heart (or: I really love you with all my heart), by WHF. (on cover) A~gamma

  • Provenance

    Private Collection, New York (until 1950); Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York (March 9, 1950, no. 150)

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
468350

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