Pietro Piffetti Italian
as Royal Cabinet Maker of Savoy Italian
Gilt bronze mounts attributed to Francesco Ladatte Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 521

One of a pair made by Pietro Piffetti (royal cabinetmaker to King Carlo Emanuele III) to furnish his private apartment at the Turin School of Ebanisti e Minusieri, this sumptuous commode is a superior example of its maker’s skill, as well as of his personal taste in decorative art. Its serpentine form references the established rococo style, while the stripes in the back corners offer a touch of quietness at the dawn of neoclassicism. The ormolu mounts were likely contributed by Francesco Ladatte (1706-1787), an Italian sculptor with whom Piffetti frequently collaborated. The dots of darker colored wood that pepper the walnut briar veneer are not simply an element of the commode’s design; they are wooden nails that secure the veneer to the commode’s dramatically curved form, a technique invented by Piffetti and employed here for the first time. Given that Piffetti made the commode to furnish his own apartments, it may be an important example of the artisans’ experimentation with novel techniques outside of the pressures of royal patronage.

Commode, Pietro Piffetti (Italian, Turin 1701–1777 Turin), Marquetry of ebony, boxwood, walnut, and fruitwood; poplar (alberone) carcass; gilt-bronze mounts; iron locks, Italian, Turin

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