The Triumph of Fame; (reverse) Impresa of the Medici Family and Arms of the Medici and Tornabuoni Families
Giovanni di ser Giovanni Guidi (called Scheggia) (Italian, San Giovanni Valdarno 1406–1486 Florence)
Tempera, silver, and gold on wood
Overall, with engaged frame, diameter 36 1/2 in. (92.7 cm); recto, painted surface, diameter 24 5/8 in. (62.5 cm); verso, painted surface, diameter 29 5/8 in. (75.2 cm)
Purchase in memory of Sir John Pope-Hennessy: Rogers Fund, The Annenberg Foundation, Drue Heinz Foundation, Annette de la Renta, Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Richardson, and The Vincent Astor Foundation Gifts, Wrightsman and Gwynne Andrews Funds, special funds, and Gift of the children of Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Logan, and other gifts and bequests, by exchange, 1995
This commemorative birth tray (desco da parto) celebrates the birth of Lorenzo de' Medici (1449–1492), the most celebrated ruler of his day as well as an important poet and a major patron of the arts. Knights extend their hands in allegiance to an allegorical figure of Fame, who holds a sword and winged cupid (symbolizing celebrity through arms and love). Winged trumpets sound Fame's triumph. Captives are bound to the elaborate support. The three-colored ostrich feathers around the rim are a heraldic device of Lorenzo's father, Piero de' Medici. Painted by the younger brother of Masaccio, it was kept in Lorenzo’s private quarters in the Medici palace in Florence.
(reverse of birth tray) The armorial device is that of Lorenzo de’ Medici’s father, Piero de’ Medici: a diamond ring with three ostrich feathers and a banderole with the motto SEMPER (forever). The device is much worn and the silver is oxidized. Piero de’ Medici married Lucrezia Tornabuoni in 1444 and their first son, Lorenzo, was born in 1449; the two families’ coats of arms are in the upper left and right. The tradition of commissioning circular trays or salvers to commemorate a birth derived from the custom of presenting sweetmeats to the new mother.
#5219: The Triumph of Fame; (reverse) Impresa of the Medici Family and Arms of the Medici and Tornabuoni Families, Part 1
#5022: The Triumph of Fame; (reverse) Impresa of the Medici Family and Arms of the Medici and Tornabuoni Families, Part 2
#867: Kids: The Triumph of Fame; (reverse) Impresa of the Medici Family and Arms of the Medici and Tornabuoni Families
#868: Kids: The Triumph of Fame; (reverse) Impresa of the Medici Family and Arms of the Medici and Tornabuoni Families
This impressive object, the largest birth tray known, was commissioned on the occasion of the birth in 1449 of Lorenzo de’ Medici, later known as "il Magnifico" (the Magnificent). It is first cited in an inventory of the Medici Palace in Florence that was drawn up following his death in 1492, when it hung in his room and is described as follows: "uno desco tondo da parto, dipintovi il Trionfo della Fama" (a circular birth tray in which is painted the Triumph of Fame). On the front side is shown a winged figure of Fame holding a sword in one hand and an image of blindfolded Cupid in the other, emblematic of her success in arms and love. She stands atop a globe from which trumpets bruit her accomplishments. The globe is mounted on a pedestal to which conquered men are attached. Mounted knights in full armor raise their right hands, pledging fealty to Fame. Three dogs—one white, one black, and one brown—are in the foreground while a panoramic landscape with walled cities, castles, rocks, fields, and a body of water with boats on it fills the background. Around the gilded rim of the birth tray are the tri-colored feathers of the Medici.
The earliest literary source for the subject is probably Boccaccio's L'Amorosa visione, book six, of 1342, but this narrative was repeated by Francesco Petrarch in his Trionfi, written between 1352 and 1374, and the motif, particularly as a source for artists, is more commonly associated with Petrarch's name. The subject was unusual for a birth tray: the most common themes were birth scenes or the marriage of Solomon and the queen of Sheba. The birth of Lorenzo was viewed as an event of signal importance and the birth tray was plainly conceived as an augury of his future accomplishments.
On the reverse side are the arms of the families of Lorenzo’s father and mother, Piero de’ Medici (Or, eight roundels gules, 2, 3, 2, 1) and Lucrezia Tornabuoni (per saltire of Or and azure, overall a lion countercharged, on its shoulder an escutcheon). The armorial device, or impresa, of Piero de' Medici, which was subsequently adopted by Lorenzo and his descendants, is also conspicuous (three ostrich feathers with a diamond ring and the motto SEMPER [always] on a banderole). The ostrich feathers are a symbol of steadfastness, as they cannot be disheveled no matter how hard the wind blows.
During the first half of the twentieth century the attribution was much discussed, with proposals of such outstanding painters as Piero della Francesca and Domenico Veneziano. However, in 1926 Longhi associated it with the author of a large panel of a marriage in the Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence, christening the artist the Master of the Adimari Cassone (sometimes alternatively known as the Master of Fucecchio, after an altarpiece by the same artist in the Museo Civico of that city). Longhi’s view gained gradual acceptance, though it has sometimes been thought that the artist was provided a design by Domenico Veneziano (Pope-Hennessy and Christiansen 1980). The Master of the Adimari Cassone was first identified by Luciano Bellosi (Mostra d'arte sacra della Diocesi di San Miniato, exh. cat., San Miniato, 1969) as Giovanni di Ser Giovanni (lo Scheggia), the younger brother of Masaccio. Bellosi and Haines (1999) later published a full study and catalogue of the works of this artist and today there is no real question that Scheggia painted this outstanding work, though unquestionably with an eye to the work of Domenico Veneziano, the author of an extraordinary tondo of the Adoration of the Magi (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin) that may also have belonged to the Medici and that has an extensive landscape background.
Apart from its association with one of the great figures of the Renaissance, the desco has a key place in the history of the revaluation of early Italian painting. By 1808 it belonged to Artaud de Montor in Paris. De Montor was one of the first collectors and promoters of Italian "primitives". He considered the birth tray to be by Giotto, as did its subsequent owner, Thomas Jefferson Bryan, the earliest American collector of early Italian painting.
[Keith Christiansen 2011]
Lorenzo de' Medici, Florence (b. 1449–d. 1492; inv., 1492; confiscated by the Florentine government; Medici family sale, Orsanmichele, Florence, summer 1495, for 3.6.8 fiorini to Bambello); Bartolomeo di Bambello, Florence (1495–d. 1543); his widow, Lucrezia di Bambello (from 1543); their son, Jacopo di Bambello (until d. 1579); Abbé Jean Rivani, Florence (in 1801; sold to Artaud de Montor); Alexis François Artaud de Montor, Paris (by 1808–d. 1849; his estate sale, Hôtel des ventes mobilières, Paris, January 16–17, 1851, no. 57, as by Giotto, for Fr 611 to Bryan); Thomas Jefferson Bryan, New York (1851–67; cat., 1852, no. 4; given to New-York Historical Society); New-York Historical Society, New York (1867–1995; sale, Sotheby's, New York, January 12, 1995, no. 69, as by Giovanni di Ser Giovanni di Simone, to MMA)
Florence. Palazzo Medici Riccardi. "Le tems revient, 'l tempo si rinuova: feste e spettacoli nella Firenze di Lorenzo il Magnifico," April 8–June 30, 1992, no. 2.7.
San Giovanni Valdarno. Casa Masaccio. "Il fratello di Masaccio: Giovanni di Ser Giovanni detto lo Scheggia," February 14–May 16, 1999, no. 10.
London. Victoria and Albert Museum. "At Home in Renaissance Italy," October 6, 2006–January 7, 2007, no. 213.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art and Love in Renaissance Italy," November 11, 2008–February 16, 2009, no. 70.
Fort Worth. Kimbell Art Museum. "Art and Love in Renaissance Italy," March 15–June 14, 2009, no. 70.
Florence. Galleria dell'Accademia and Museo Horne. "Virtù d'amore: pittura nuziale nel Quattrocento fiorentino," June 8–November 1, 2010, no. 25.
Posthumous inventory of the collection of Lorenzo de' Medici. 1492, c. 14 [Archivio di Stato, Florence, MAP 165; see Muntz 1888 and Spallanzani and Gaeta Bertelà 1992], lists it as "uno desco tondo da parto, dipintovi il Trionfo della Fama," in the "camera grande di detta sala, detta camera di Lorenzo," valued at 10 fiorini.
Sale of Medici possessions by the Sindaco of Florence, 1494–95. 1494–95, c. 357 [Archivio di Stato, Florence, MAP 129; see Refs. Sotheby's 1995 and Musacchio 1998], reports that it sold for 3.6.8 fiorini to Ser Bartolomeo di Bambelo.
[Alexis-François Artaud de Montor]. Considérations sur l'état de la peinture en Italie, dans les quatre siècles qui ont précédé celui de Raphael. Paris, 1808, pp. 11–12, attributes it to Giotto; describes it as Florentine soldiers taking an oath before a statue of Justice; notes that the work is in his own collection and mentions the arms of the Medici on the reverse.
[Alexis-François Artaud de Montor]. Considérations sur l'état de la peinture en Italie . . . suivi du catalogue raisonné d'une collection de 150 tableaux des 12.e, 13.e, 14.e, et 15.e siècles. 2nd ed. Paris, 1811, pp. 42–43, 80–82, no. 57, identifies the animals in the foreground as a fox, dog, and pig; suggests the work was painted to recall an episode of Florentine history and states that the frame is as old as the picture.
A[lexis]. F[rançois]. Artaud [de Montor]. Machiavel, son génie et ses erreurs. Paris, 1833, vol. 2, pp. 122–23 n. 1, identifies the central figure in yellow as Gauthier de Brienne, Duke of Athens, a figure from Florentine history who had led a rebellion and was expelled from the city; states that the picture was placed at the door of the Palazzo della Signoria, where it remained until the death of Gaston de' Medici in 1737; adds that it was later sold and that he acquired it from Abbé Rivani in Florence.
P[ierre]. M[arie]. Gault de Saint-Germain. École italienne: Guide des amateurs de peinture. Paris, 1835, pp. 53–54, quotes parts of Artaud de Montor 1811.
[Alexis François] Artaud [de Montor]. "Italie." L'univers: histoire et description de tous les peuples. Paris, 1842, p. 121, pl. 29 (obverse).
[Alexis-François] Artaud de Montor. Peintres primitifs: Collection de tableaux rapportée d'Italie et publiée par le chevalier Artaud de Montor. Paris, 1843, pp. 34–36, no. 57, pl. 20 (lithograph by Ch. Fichot), attributes it to Giotto but states that it could be by Giottino; believes that the Medici arms on the reverse were added later.
Catalogue of the Bryan Gallery of Christian Art, from the Earliest Masters to the Present Time. New York, 1852, p. 8, no. 4, as by Giotto; calls it "A Tournament, with Knights in the costumes of the various States of Italy".
Thomas Jefferson Bryan in Richard Grant White. Companion to the Bryan Gallery of Christian Art. New York, 1853, pp. 6–7, no. 4, as "Knights at a Tournament," by Giotto; identifies the winged figured as Glory.
Eugène Muntz. Les collections des Médicis au XVe siècle: Le musée, la bibliothèque, le mobilier. Paris, 1888, p. 63, publishes parts of the 1492 inventory of the Medici collection [see Ref.], including a section that lists this desco, and notes that it shows one of the "Triumphs" of Petrarch.
B[ernard]. Berenson. "Les peintures italiennes de New-York et de Boston." Gazette des beaux-arts, 3rd ser., 15 (March 1896), pp. 196–98, identifies the winged figure as Chivalry; calls it an early work by Piero della Francesca, comparing it to the Triumph of Federigo da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, in the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence; observes that it might be the birth tray listed in the 1492 Medici inventory, adding that it was probably commissioned by Cosimo; considers the frame original and states the Medici arms on the reverse were painted by the same hand as the obverse; compares the composition to a miniature from Petrarch's L'Epitome virorum illustrium [De viris illustribus] in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris [MS lat. no. 6069 I; see Ref. Caradente 1963].
Bernhard Berenson. The Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance. reprinted 1903. New York, 1897, p. 169, lists it as "Triumph of Chivalry," an early work by Piero della Francesca.
August Schmarsow. "Maîtres italiens à la galerie d'Altenburg et dans la collection A. de Montor." Gazette des beaux-arts 20 (December 1898), p. 504, calls it the "Triumph of Fame," places it in the early Quattrocento, and attributes it to Dello Delli or Paolo Uccello.
prince d' Essling and Eugène Muntz. Pétrarque. Paris, 1902, p. 144, ill. on title page and p. 145 (lithograph from Ref. Artaud de Montor 1843), date it to the first half of the fifteenth century and call it the "Triumph of Fame," thus identifying the winged figure as Fame; illustrate works by other artists representing the same subject from Petrarch.
A. Warburg. "Delle 'Imprese Amorose' nelle più antiche incisioni fiorentine." Rivista d'arte 3 (1905), p. 5 n. 1 [reprinted in "Gesammelte Schriften," Leipzig, 1932, vol. 1, p. 82 n. 3], notes that it was probably painted for the birth of Lorenzo de' Medici, observing that on the reverse are the Medici and Tornabuoni coats of arms and a ring with three feathers, probably Lorenzo's personal device.
Lewis Einstein and François Monod. "Le Musée de la Société Historique de New York." Gazette des beaux-arts 33 (May 1905), pp. 416–18, ill., note similarities to the style of Piero della Francesca, but suggest that it was painted by an artist influenced by him and Uccello; compare it with a cassone panel in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and a Cephalus and Procris in the Musée de Lille; refer to the citation in the Medici inventory.
William Ranken [sic, for Rankin]. "Intorno ad alcuni dipinti italiani à Nuova-York." Rassegna d'arte 7 (January 1907), pp. 42–43, ill., rejects the attribution to Piero, and notes affinities to Domenico Veneziano and to a tondo of the Adoration of the Magi, here attributed to Pisanello (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin; now ascribed to Domenico); questions whether it represents the Triumph of Fame or of Venus.
William Rankin. "Cassone Fronts in American Collections—VI: A Birth Plate of 1428 and 'The Triumph of Chivalry' in the Bryan Collection." Burlington Magazine 12 (October 1907), pp. 63–64, ill. p. 62, calls it the Triumph of Chivalry and attributes it to an "able secondary artist" close to Domenico Veneziano; compares it with the Adimari cassone panel in the Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence [see Notes], and to deschi depicting the Adoration of the Magi (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin) and the Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston).
Bernhard Berenson. The Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance. 2nd ed., rev. and enl. New York, 1909, p. 226, tentatively lists it as an early work of Piero della Francesca, and calls it Triumph of Chivalry.
Edward Hutton, ed. A New History of Painting in Italy from the II to the XVI Century.. By [Joseph Archer] Crowe and [Giovanni Battista] Cavalcaselle. Vol. 2, The Sienese School of the XIV Century; The Florentine School of the XV Century. London, 1909, p. 318 n. 2, accepts Rankin's [(Rassegna d'arte) 1907] attribution to a follower of Domenico Veneziano.
Paul Schubring. Cassoni: Truhen und Truhenbilder der italienischen Frührenaissance. Leipzig, 1915, text vol., p. 272, no. 212; plate vol., pl. XLIV, calls it the Triumph of Fame, though noting that it lacks the conventional Triumph motif of the chariot pulled by animals; tentatively dates it 1449 and accepts Rankin's attribution, here cited as school of Domenico Veneziano; compares it to a miniature in the Petrarch codex in the Biblioteca Riccardiana, Florence (see Shorr 1938).
Catalogue of the Gallery of Art of the New York Historical Society. New York, 1915, p. 57, ill. opp. p. 60, as "Knights at a Tournament," by Giotto.
Richard Offner. "Italian Pictures at the New York Historical Society and Elsewhere: III." Art in America 8 (December 1919), pp. 8, 13, fig. 3, rejects the attributions to Piero and to the school of Domenico, but places it in that "general milieu".
Frank Jewett Mather. "Three Florentine Furniture Panels: The Medici Desco, the Stibbert Trajan, and the Horse Race of the Holden Collection." Art in America 8 (June 1920), pp. 148–52, fig. 1 (reverse), attributes the design to Domenico and believes it was partially executed by his assistant Baldovinetti; considers it likely that it was completed within a month or so after Lorenzo's birth, suggesting that the subjects of deschi paintings were determined by the sex of the child; states that the Medici arms are "of a form earlier than Piero," identifying the impresa on the reverse as Cosimo's and concluding that he commissioned it as a "grandfather's tribute".
Frank Jewett Mather Jr. A History of Italian Painting. New York, 1923, p 181, fig. 119a, dates it 1448 and gives it to a follower of Domenico Veneziano, perhaps Baldovinetti.
Helen Comstock. "Primitives from the Bryan Collection." International Studio 84 (May 1926), pp. 28, 35, ill. p. 30 (obverse and reverse), cites attributions to Domenico, Piero, Benozzo Gozzoli, and Uccello, stating that if it is "not by one of these, it is probably the work of a painter influenced by all of them".
Andrea Ronchi [Roberto Longhi]. "Primizie di Lorenzo da Viterbo." Vita artistica 1 (1926) [see Ref. Longhi 1967], associates it with the Adimari cassone, the Madonna and Angels in the church of San Lorenzo, San Giovanni Valdarno, and the Madonna in the Museo Civico, Fucecchio.
Helen Comstock. "Italian Birth and Marriage Salvers." International Studio 85 (September 1926), pp. 51–54, ill. (obverse and reverse).
Roberto Longhi. Piero della Francesca. Rome, , pp. 109, 145, as the Triumph of Chivalry; attributes it to an artist that he names "il Maestro delle nozze degli Adimari" after the panel in the Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence.
Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 10, The Renaissance Painters of Florence in the 15th Century. The Hague, 1928, p. 332, favors the attribution to the school of Domenico over that to Piero, and suggests that the subject is probably the Triumph of Love.
Roberto Longhi. "Ricerche su Giovanni di Francesco." Pinacotheca 1 (July–August 1928), p. 38.
Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 11, The Hague, 1929, pp. 10–11.
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 40, lists it as by Francesco di Antonio Banchi on Domenico Veneziano's design.
Bernard Berenson. "Quadri senza casa: Il Quattrocento fiorentino, I." Dedalo 12 (1932), p. 532, believes it was painted by Francesco d'Antonio Banchi, probably after a design by Domenico.
Georg Pudelko. "Studien über Domenico Veneziano." Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 4 (1932–34), p. 163 n. 1, p. 199, attributes it to an artist he calls the "Meister des Altares in Fucecchio," after the altarpiece in the Museo Civico, ascribing to the same hand the Adimari panel in Florence and several other works.
Lionello Venturi. Italian Paintings in America. Vol. 2, Fifteenth Century Renaissance. New York, 1933, unpaginated, pl. 201, attributes it to the school of Domenico.
Mario Salmi. Paolo Uccello, Andrea del Castagno, Domenico Veneziano. Rome, , pp. 69–70, 100, 125–26, pl. CLXXVI (obverse) [French ed., 1937, pp. 75–76, 107, 132–33, pl. CLXXVI (obverse)], attributes it to a Florentine follower of Domenico Veneziano and also sees the influence of Paolo Uccello; states that it is certainly by the same hand as a profile portrait of a woman in the Johnson Collection (Philadelphia Museum of Art, no. 34; now attributed to Scheggia).
Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, pp. 34–35.
Ruth Wedgwood Kennedy. Alesso Baldovinetti. New Haven, 1938, p. 235 n. 417, rejects Mather's [see Ref. 1920] attribution Baldovinetti.
Dorothy C. Shorr. "Some Notes on the Iconography of Petrarch's Triumph of Fame." Art Bulletin 20 (March 1938), p. 107, fig. 6, calls it a variation of the usual Fame motif, with Fame standing on an ornamental globe rather than sitting in a chariot.
Roberto Longhi. "Fatti di Masolino e di Masaccio." Critica d'arte, part 2, 25–26 (July–December 1940), p. 187 n. 24 [reprinted in "'Fatti di Masolino e di Masaccio' e altri studi sul Quattrocento: 1910–1967," Florence, 1975, p. 57 n. 24], rejects Berenson's (1932) attribution to Franceso d'Antonio, suggesting that the secure date of this work points to a later artist who developed about 1435–40 in the cirle of Vecchietta and Paolo Schiavo; ascribes it to the Master of the Adimari Cassone, tentatively identifying him with Lazzaro Vasari.
Licia Ragghianti Collobi. Lorenzo il Magnifico e le arti. Exh. cat., Palazzo Strozzi. Florence, 1949, p. 28, groups it with works attributed to the Master of the Adimari Cassone.
Martin Davies. "Fra Filippo Lippi's Annunciation and Seven Saints." Critica d'arte 8 (January 1950), p. 360 n. 4, associates it with the birth tray listed in the Medici inventory, and says it seems likely that the device on the reverse is Lorenzo's.
Guy de Tervarent. Attributs et symboles dans l'art profane, 1450-1600. Geneva, 1958, p. 157, highlights the sword as a symbolic attribute of Fame.
Bernhard Degenhart. "Domenico Veneziano als Zeichner." Festschrift Friedrich Winkler. Berlin, 1959, pp. 103, 105, fig. 17, calls it an autograph Domenico Veneziano, comparing it with the Adoration of the Magi in Berlin and a drawing in the Uffizi [1109 E verso].
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Florentine School. London, 1963, vol. 1, p. 63; vol. 2, pl. 732, lists it as by Franceso di Antonio di Bartolomeo, possibly on Domenico's desgin, thus revising the 1932 [see Ref.] attribution to Franceso di Antonio Banchi.
Giovanni Carandente. I trionfi nel primo rinascimento. [Naples], 1963, pp. 57–59, 305 nn. 128, 131, colorpl. IV, tentatively attributes it to Domenico Veneziano, finding it very close to the artist's autograph works; argues that the design on the reverse was added later, as it was the personal device of Lorenzo.
Roberto Longhi. Opere complete di Roberto Longhi. Vol. 3, Piero della Francesca, 1927. Florence, 1963, pp. 75, 140, reprints Ref. 1927.
Giovanni Previtali. La fortuna dei primitivi dal Vasari ai neoclassici. Turin, 1964, pp. 186, 232 n. 4, fig. 37, as "Annuncio della nascita di Lorenzo il Magnifico," by the Master of the Adimari Cassone.
Roberto Longhi. Opere complete di Roberto Longhi. Vol. 2, part 1, Saggi e ricerche: 1925–1928. Florence, 1967, p. 60, reprints Ref. 1926.
Bernhard Degenhart and Annegrit Schmitt. Corpus der italienischen Zeichnungen, 1300–1450. Vol. 1, part 1, Süd- und Mittelitalien. Berlin, 1968, p. 148.
Roberto Longhi. Opere complete di Roberto Longhi. Vol. 4, "Me pinxit" e quesiti caravaggeschi, 1928–1934. Florence, 1968, p. 25, reprints Ref. 1928.
Charles L. Mee. Lorenzo de' Medici and the Renaissance. New York, 1969, ill. pp. 26–27 (color).
Bernard Berenson. Homeless Paintings of the Renaissance. Ed. Hanna Kiel. Bloomington, 1970, p. 165 [same text as Ref. Berenson (Dedalo) 1932].
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 129, 487, 609, as by the Master of Fucecchio.
Richard Fremantle. Florentine Gothic Painters from Giotto to Masaccio: A Guide to Painting in and near Florence, 1300 to 1450. London, 1975, pp. 543, 642, lists it as by the Master of Fucecchio and quotes Refs. Longhi 1928 and 1940.
Francis Ames-Lewis. "Early Medicean Devices." Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 42 (1979), p. 137, pl. 39a (reverse), as Florentine School; calls it "probably the earliest example of the use of the full device with ring, coloured feathers and motto".
John Pope-Hennessy and Keith Christiansen. "Secular Painting in 15th-Century Tuscany: Birth Trays, Cassone Panels, and Portraits." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 38 (Summer 1980), pp. 6, 9, 10, colorpl. 6, attribute it to the artist known both as the Master of the Adimari Cassone and the Master of Fucecchio, noting that the design was probably by Domenico Veneziano; state that the reverse displays the personal device of Piero de' Medici who commissioned the work for the birth of his son; discuss the influence of Boccaccio's "L'Amorosa Visione" on the iconography.
Hellmut Wohl. The Paintings of Domenico Veneziano, ca. 1410–1461: A Study in Florentine Art of the Early Renaissance. New York, 1980, pp. 113–14, 165–66, 193, no. 37, pls. 201–2 (overall and detail), attributes it to the brother of Masaccio, Giovanni di Ser Giovanni, known as Scheggia (or Scheggione), to whom he also gives the Adimari Cassone and the Madonna at Fucecchio; credits Bellosi [see Notes] with discovering this master's identity; believes that "the importance of the commission might have elicited a particularly brilliant performance from a generally prosaic artist".
Anne Jacobson-Schutte. "'Trionfo delle donne': tematiche di rovesciamento dei ruoli nella Firenze rinascimentale." Quaderni storici 44 (August 1980), pp. 480, 492 n. 26, fig. 3 (obverse), notes that it is attributed to Domenico Veneziano or his school, but finds the date of 1449 unlikely based on stylistic considerations; suggests that the man on the left wearing the large hat may be Piero de' Medici.
Diane Cole Ahl. "Renaissance Birth Salvers and the Richmond 'Judgment of Solomon'." Studies in Iconography 7–8 (1981–82), pp. 160–61, 166 nn. 28, 33, 35, fig. 7, groups it with works by Giovanni di Ser Giovanni, describing the artist as one of "the most important masters of secular art in the Quattrocento" who borrowed frequently from contemporary painting and sculpture; states that the emblems on the reverse were adopted by Lorenzo and must have been later additions.
Francis Ames-Lewis. The Library and Manuscripts of Piero di Cosimo de' Medici. PhD diss., Courtauld Institute of Art, London. New York, 1984, pp. 81, 459 n. 86, fig. 11 (reverse), observes that the device of Cosimo de' Medici, with a diamond ring and feathers, was modified by his son Piero, who added the colors of the Theological Virtues and the motto "Semper"; states that this work probably shows the earliest full version of the device, which "appears to identify works of Piero di Cosimo and his descendants".
Colin Eisler. "A Window on Domenico Veneziano at Santa Croce." Scritti di storia dell'arte in onore di Federico Zeri. Vol. 1, Milan, 1984, p. 131, cites Ref. Berenson 1963.
Paul F. Watson. "A Preliminary List of Subjects from Boccaccio in Italian Painting, 1400–1550." Studi sul Boccaccio 15 (1985–86), p. 162.
Stefania Ricci inLa pittura in Italia: il Quattrocento. revised and expanded ed. [Milan], 1987, vol. 2, p. 645.
Sara Charney. "Artistic Representations of Petrarch's 'Triumphus Famae'." Petrarch's "Triumphs": Allegory and Spectacle. Ed. Konrad Eisenbichler and Amilcare A. Iannucci. Ottawa, 1990, p. 231 n. 13, discusses the link between love and glory in representations of Petrarch's "Trionfi," citing the statue of Cupid held by Fame in this work.
Maria Sframeli inL'età di Masaccio: Il primo Quattrocento a Firenze. Exh. cat., Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. Milan, 1990, p. 214, under no. 77, suggests that the Triumph scenes from Petrarch listed in the same room as this work in the 1492 Medici inventory may be four panels in the Museo di Palazzo Davanzati, Florence, also attributed to Scheggia.
Maria Sframeli inLe tems revient, 'l tempo si rinuova: feste e spettacoli nella Firenze di Lorenzo il Magnifico. Ed. Paola Ventrone. Exh. cat., Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence. [Milan], 1992, pp. 155–56, no. 2.7, ill. (color, obverse and reverse).
Marco Spallanzani and Giovanna Gaeta Bertelà, ed. Libro d'inventario dei beni di Lorenzo il Magnifico. Florence, 1992, p. 27, publish the 1492 Medici inventory [see Ref.].
Riccardo Pacciani inLe tems revient, 'l tempo si rinuova: feste e spettacoli nella Firenze di Lorenzo il Magnifico. Ed. Paola Ventrone. Exh. cat., Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence. [Milan], 1992, p. 123.
James Beck. "Lorenzo il Magnifico and His Cultural Possessions." Lorenzo de' Medici: New Perspectives. Ed. Bernard Toscani. New York, 1993, pp. 133–34, 136, 141 n. 3, rejects Scheggia as the author, provisionally attributing it to Pesellino, possibly with the participation of Domenico Veneziano "for a 'modello'".
Important Old Master Paintings: The Property of the New-York Historical Society. Sotheby's, New York. January 12, 1995, unpaginated, no. 69, ill. in color (front and back cover, obverse and reverse; overall, obverse and reverse; details, obverse), installation photograph (overall and detail), lithograph from Ref. Artaud de Montor 1843, calls it the most important desco to survive and attributes it to "Giovanni di Ser Giovanni di Simone, called Lo Scheggia, formerly known as the Master of the Adimari Cassone and the Master of Fucecchio," who specialized in woodwork and painted furniture; believes the erudite subject was dictated to the painter, probably by an intellectual advisor to Piero de' Medici; gives detailed provenance and bibliography.
Michael Kimmelman. "Should Old Masters be Fund-Raisers?" New York Times (January 8, 1995), pp. 1, 34, ill., discusses the pending sale of works from the New-York Historical Society, and notes that the Bryan collection "was directly responsible for creating interest in early Italian art in this country".
Carol Vogel. "Met Blocks Sale to Keep Old Master for Itself." New York Times (January 13, 1995), p. C3, ill.
"Correction: Met Denies Blocking Sale of Painting." New York Times (January 14, 1995), p. 13.
Gersh Kuntzman. "Met Brushes Off Times' Art-Sale Tale as Not Fit to Print." New York Post (January 14, 1995), p. ?, ill.
Lee Rosenbaum. "New-York Historical Society Sells New York Heritage." Wall Street Journal (January 19, 1995), p. A16.
Carol Vogel. "Met Museum Pre-empts Sale of Old Master." New York Times (January 20, 1995), p. C3.
Rebecca Knapp. "History Lessons on the Block." Art & Antiques 18 (January 1995), p. 26, ill. (color).
Ellen Callmann. "Subjects from Boccaccio in Italian Painting, 1375–1525." Studi sul Boccaccio 23 (1995), p. 42, no. 27, tentatively attributes it to Scheggia, calling it "as outstanding in its literary implications as in its artistic quality".
Keith Christiansen in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1994–1995." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 53 (Fall 1995), pp. 28–29, ill. on cover (color, obverse) and pp. 28–29 (color, obverse and reverse), as by Scheggia.
Claudia Däubler. "Die Victoria Augusta als Fama Medicea: Zur Ruhmes-Ikonographie im Kreis der Medici." Antiquarische Gelehrsamkeit und bildende Kunst: Die Gegenwart der Antike in der Renaissance. Ed. Katharina Corsepius et al. Cologne, 1996, pp. 69–83, figs. 1–3 (obverse, reverse, and detail), discusses the literary and visual sources of the iconography, finding that the figure of Fame derives from ancient Roman depictions of Victory.
Mara Visonà inThe Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 28, New York, 1996, p. 70, erroneously as still in the New-York Historical Society.
Cecilia de Carli. I deschi da parto e la pittura del primo rinascimento toscano. Turin, 1997, pp. 13, 32, 126, 128, no. 28, ill. pp. 127, 129 (obverse and reverse), colorpl. IX (obverse).
Graham Hughes. Renaissance Cassoni, Masterpieces of Early Italian Art: Painted Marriage Chests 1400–1550. Alfriston, England, 1997, pp. 119–20, 186, 232.
Dora Thornton. The Scholar in His Study: Ownership and Experience in Renaissance Italy. New Haven, 1997, p. 6, fig. 5 (obverse).
Jacqueline Marie Musacchio. "The Medici-Tornabuoni 'Desco da Parto' in Context." Metropolitan Museum Journal 33 (1998), pp. 137–51, figs. 1–4, 8 (obverse and reverse, overall and details), argues that Piero de' Medici commissioned it by late 1448 in anticipation of Lorenzo's birth in 1449; states that the device on the back is that of Piero; observes that it is much larger and more extravagant than most surviving birth trays; traces its provenance in the possession of Ser Bartolomeo di Bambello and his heirs, suggesting it remained in that family until the early nineteenth century, as it was documented in the collection of Abbé Rimani [sic, for Rivani] in 1801.
Laura Cavazzini. Il fratello di Masaccio: Giovanni di Ser Giovanni detto lo Scheggia. Exh. cat., Casa Masaccio, San Giovanni Valdarno. Florence, 1999, pp. 23, 50–53, no. 10, ill. (color, obverse and reverse, and obverse on front cover), calls it a rare dated work and notes that the painting shows Scheggia's awareness of Domenico Veneziano and other "pittori di luce" at mid-century; states that in 1469 Lorenzo de' Medici also commissioned a spalliera painting of a joust from Scheggia.
Luciano Bellosi and Margaret Haines. Lo Scheggia. Florence, 1999, pp. 10, 54, 89, fig. 5 (color), ill. p. 89 (obverse and reverse), consider it one of Scheggia's finest works and compare it to the Adoration of the Magi in Berlin.
Paolo Vagheggi. "Il fratello segreto di Masaccio." Repubblica (February 8, 1999), p. 26, ill.
Roberta Bartoli. Biagio d'Antonio. Milan, 1999, p. 146.
Jacqueline Marie Musacchio. The Art and Ritual of Childbirth in Renaissance Italy. New Haven, 1999, pp. 73, 76–79, 189 nn. 70, 73, 75, p. 190 nn. 84, 97, figs. 57 (obverse), 58 (reverse), 60 (obverse, detail).
Ellen Callmann. "William Blundell Spence and the Transformation of Renaissance Cassoni." Burlington Magazine 141 (June 1999), p. 339.
Luke Syson and Dora Thornton. Objects of Virtue: Art in Renaissance Italy. London, 2001, p. 75, fig. 53 (color, obverse).
Luciano Bellosi inItalian Gold Grounds and Painted Grounds (1300–1560). Exh. cat., G. Sarti. Paris, 2002, pp. 101–2, 109–110, fig. 1.
Jacqueline Marie Musacchio. "The Medici Sale of 1495 and the Second-Hand Market for Domestic Goods in Late Fifteenth-Century Florence." The Art Market in Italy: 15th–17th Centuries. Ed. Marcello Fantoni et al. Modena, 2003, pp. 317–18.
Claudia Däubler-Hauschke. Geburt und Memoria: zum italienischen Bildtyp der "deschi da parto". Munich, 2003, pp. 49, 51, 59–60, 67, 85–124, 258, 262–66, 320–21, 339, no. 32, figs. 31, 113 (obverse), 37, 43 (details, obverse), 114 (reverse), colorpl. 5 (obverse).
Paula Nuttall. From Flanders to Florence: The Impact of Netherlandish Painting, 1400–1500. New Haven, 2004, p. 117.
Carl Brandon Strehlke. Italian Paintings 1250–1450 in the John G. Johnson Collection and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 2004, p. 379.
F[rancis]. W[illiam]. Kent. Lorenzo de' Medici and the Art of Magnificence. Baltimore, 2004, pp. 19, 162 n. 44.
Andrea Staderini. "Un contesto per la collezione di 'primitivi' di Alexis-François Artaud de Montor." Proporzioni, n.s., 5 (2004), pp. 41–42, no. 15, fig. 30.
Pierre Rosenberg. Only in America: One Hundred Paintings in American Museums Unmatched in European Collections. Milan, 2006, pp. 36–37, 235, ill. (obverse [color] and reverse).
Jacqueline Marie Musacchio inAt Home in Renaissance Italy. Ed. Marta Ajmar-Wollheim et al. Exh. cat., Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2006, pp. 132, 365–66, no. 213, colorpl. 8.12 (obverse and reverse).
Christopher B. Fulton. An Earthly Paradise: The Medici, their Collection and the Foundations of Modern Art. [Florence], 2006, pp. 289–90, colorpl. IV (obverse), fig. 7 (reverse).
J. Russell Sale. "Birds of a Feather: The Medici 'Adoration' Tondo in Washington." Burlington Magazine 149 (January 2007), p. 11, fig. 10 (color).
Deborah L. Krohn inArt and Love in Renaissance Italy. Ed. Andrea Bayer. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2008, pp. 66, 125, 175.
Andrea Bayer inArt and Love in Renaissance Italy. Ed. Andrea Bayer. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2008, p. 296.
Jacqueline Marie Musacchio inArt and Love in Renaissance Italy. Ed. Andrea Bayer. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2008, pp. 154–57, 161, no. 70, ill. (color, obverse and reverse), dates it to late 1448 or earlier.
Dora Thornton inArt and Love in Renaissance Italy. Ed. Andrea Bayer. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2008, p. 95.
Cristelle Baskins inThe Triumph of Marriage: Painted Cassoni of the Renaissance. Exh. cat., Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Boston, 2008, pp. 10, 62, fig. 40 (color).
Alan Chong inThe Triumph of Marriage: Painted Cassoni of the Renaissance. Exh. cat., Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Boston, 2008, pp. 69, 71, 88 n. 17.
Jacqueline Marie Musacchio. Art, Marriage, & Family in the Florentine Renaissance Palace. New Haven, 2008, pp. 255–57, 305–6 n. 80, figs. 265a and b (color, obverse and reverse).
Nicoletta Pons inBotticelli to Titian: Two Centuries of Italian Masterpieces. Ed. Dóra Sallay et al. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest. Budapest, 2009, pp. 105–6.
Elena Capretti, ed. Mediateca di Palazzo Medici Riccardi. March 3, 2009, ill. (color, obverse and reverse) [http://www.palazzo-medici.it/mediateca/en/schede.php?id_scheda=264w].
Caroline Campbell. Love and Marriage in Renaissance Florence: The Courtauld Wedding Chests. Exh. cat., Courtauld Gallery. London, 2009, p. 24, fig. 9 (color, obverse).
Francesca Pasut inThe Alana Collection. Ed. Miklós Boskovits. Vol. 1, Italian Paintings from the 13th to 15th Century. Florence, 2009, p. 36 n. 26.
Scott Nethersole. "Florentine Domestic Paintings." Burlington Magazine 152 (September 2010), p. 637, fig. 88 (color).
Daniela Parenti inVirtù d'amore: pittura nuziale nel Quattrocento fiorentino. Ed. Claudio Paolini et al. Exh. cat., Galleria dell'Accademia. Florence, 2010, p. 184, under no. 9.
Chiara Guerzi inVirtù d'amore: pittura nuziale nel Quattrocento fiorentino. Ed. Claudio Paolini et al. Exh. cat., Galleria dell'Accademia. Florence, 2010, pp. 242–45, no. 25, ill. (color, obverse and reverse).
Joseph Manca. "Dogs of Infamy in Lorenzo de' Medici's Birth Tray." Source: Notes in the History of Art 32 (Summer 2013), pp. 1–6, figs. 1–2 (obverse, overall and detail), sees a connection to the story recounted by Prodicus of Ceos and later retold by Xenophon and Philostratus of how female personifications of Virtue and Pleasure offered the young Hercules a choice between the difficult path of virtue or the easy one of pleasure, believing that the horses standing on bare, hard ground represent virtue and the dogs on the grassy patches represent pleasure.
Andrea Staderini inLa fortuna dei primitivi: tesori d'arte dalle collezioni italiane fra Sette e Ottocento. Ed. Angelo Tartuferi and Gianluca Tormen. Exh. cat., Galleria dell'Accademia. Florence, 2014, p. 426, fig. 6 (color, obverse).
Alison Luchs inPiero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2015, pp. 63, 228 n. 10, fig. 3 (obverse, color), notes the similarity between the three dogs depicted here and those in Piero's "Death of a Nymph" (National Gallery, London) of about 1495–1500.
Martin Gammon. Deaccessioning and its Discontents: The Museum and the Marketplace. 2015, pp. 41–42 n. 86, provides provenance information; questions Musacchio's (1998) identification of it with the birth tray of a hunting scene listed in the inventory of Jacopo di Bambello's estate in 1579, suggesting that Artaud de Montor's (1833) statement that the picture remained in the Palazzo Vecchio until Gaston de' Medici's death in 1737 could be correct, Bartolomeo di Bambello, a close friend of the Medici family, having returned the tray to them.
Andrea De Marchi inLe opere e i giorni: exempla virtutis, favole antiche, e vita quotidiana nel racconto dei cassoni rinascimentali. Ed. Andrea De Marchi and Lorenzo Sbaraglio. Exh. cat., Museo Stibbert, Florence. Signa, 2015, pp. 22, 169.
Lorenzo Sbaraglio inLe opere e i giorni: exempla virtutis, favole antiche, e vita quotidiana nel racconto dei cassoni rinascimentali. Ed. Andrea De Marchi and Lorenzo Sbaraglio. Exh. cat., Museo Stibbert, Florence. Signa, 2015, p. 163.
Irene Marcadella inLe opere e i giorni: exempla virtutis, favole antiche, e vita quotidiana nel racconto dei cassoni rinascimentali. Ed. Andrea De Marchi and Lorenzo Sbaraglio. Exh. cat., Museo Stibbert, Florence. Signa, 2015, p. 166.
Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, p. 141, no. 134, ill. pp. 113, 141 (color).
John T. Spike inBotticelli and the Search for the Divine: Florentine Painting Between the Medici and the Bonfires of the Vanities. Exh. cat., Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William & Mary. Williamsburg, Va., 2017, pp. 15, 17, 38 n. 16, fig. 2 (color, obverse).
Alessandro Cecchi inBotticelli and the Search for the Divine: Florentine Painting Between the Medici and the Bonfires of the Vanities. Exh. cat., Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William & Mary. Williamsburg, Va., 2017, p. 41.
Old Masters: Evening Sale. Christie's, London. July 6, 2017, p. 60, fig. 1 (color, obverse), under no. 13.
The framed circular tray is from Florence and dates to about 1449 (see Additional Images, figs. 1–2). The bold poplar inner and outer moldings are astragal in form. They were applied to the tray at the time of fabrication and are integral to the design. The outer moldings are ornamented with a strong rope twist carving. Their surface is gessoed and water gilded on a brownish-red bole. The front moldings have been regilded while those on the back retain their silver leaf, now tarnished and dark. The frieze is painted with twelve polychrome sgraffito decorated ostrich feathers in four colors, a symbol used by the Medici family for whom the tray was made.
[Timothy Newbery with Cynthia Moyer 2017; further information on this frame can be found in the Department of European Paintings files]