Cassone (one of a pair)


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 503

Roman cassoni of the second half of the sixteenth century are characterized by skillfully executed relief carvings that either illustrate narratives, often after ancient Roman writers, or are lavishly ornamental. The latter is the case with this chest and its pair (54.161). The two pieces differ only in a few details and slightly in their degree of preservation. In former times they could probably have been distinguished by the coats of arms painted on the front in the strapwork cartouches, but none of the polychrome decoration has survived. All the raised parts were once gilded, and this decoration has been partly preserved, albeit with much retouching. In both examples the layered plateaux of the lid are replacements.

Cassone (one of a pair), Walnut, Italian

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