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Title:Stool (pair with 1975.1.2003)
Date:possibly 16th century
Medium:Walnut, carved, partially gilded.
Dimensions:H. 53 cm, W. 41 cm, D. 30.5 cm
Credit Line:Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
These distinguished objects with gilding in the incised areas exemplify the ideal Renaissance stool. The all’antica molding decoration juxtaposed with the beauty of the plain walnut wood parts has an appealing effect. Decorated areas with carvings are mostly limited to the edges; however, incised and gilded lines further pronounce the cartouche shape of the slanted footboards. Nailheads are visible on the top. The design of these stools without stretchers underscores the intention to have them serve as small tables for versatile use.(1) Pictorial evidence shows works in a multitude of shapes with slanted sides and rectangular tops that were employed as low pedestals for sculpture and as bed steps.(2) An inventory of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence of 1553 describes numerous sgabelli, among them both simple and painted pieces.(3) The type was not limited to the Italian peninsula, however. In 1539, Gilles Corrozet mentioned a French variant that he called scabelle, representing a stretched seat or small table.(4) One of the stools discussed here may be identical with a piece that Schottmüller published as part of the O. Lanz collection in Amsterdam (Fig. 207.1).(5) If so, this documentation is further testimony to the ambition of the Lehman family to purchase only outstanding objects formerly in well-known collections.
Catalogue entry from: Wolfram Koeppe. The Robert Lehman Collection. Decorative Arts, Vol. XV. Wolfram Koeppe, et al. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Princeton University Press, 2012, pp. 253-54.
NOTES: 1. For various stool models, see Thornton, Peter. The Italian Renaissance Interior, 1400 – 1600. New York, 1991, pp. 168 – 71, especially pl. 181. 2. For the wide-ranging uses of the sgabello, see, for example, Currie, Elizabeth. Inside the Renaissance House. London, 2006, pl. 60 (drawing by Jacopo Palma il Giovane [1544 – 1628], late sixteenth century, in the Morgan Library & Museum, New York). 3. Massinelli, Anna Maria. Il mobile toscano. Milan, 1993, p. 39, fig. 47. 4. Corrozet, Gilles. Les blasons domestiques contenantz la décoration d’une maison honneste, et du mesnage estant en icelle, invention joyeuse et moderne. . . . Paris, 1539 [New ed., 1865.], p. 25. 5. Schottmüller, Frida. Furniture and Interior Decoration of the Italian Renaissance. 2nd ed. Stuttgart, 1928, p. xxv, fig. 24; for the type, see also pp. xxix – xxxi and p. xxv, figs. 22, 23.
Robert Lehman, New York
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15th century (textile); 19th century (chair, with various earlier parts)
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The Robert Lehman Collection is one of the most distinguished privately assembled art collections in the United States. Robert Lehman's bequest to The Met is a remarkable example of twentieth-century American collecting.