Cabinet (Cabinet des Médailles)

Object Details

Title:

Cabinet (Cabinet des Médailles)

Artist/Maker(s):

Attributed to André-Charles Boulle (French, 1642 - 1732, master before 1666)

Culture:

French

Date:

about 1710 - 1715

Medium:

Oak and fir veneered with ebony, amaranth, kingwood, brass, and tortoise shell, gilt-bronze mounts; sarrancolin des Pyrénées marble top

Dimensions:

82.6 x 140.3 x 72.4 cm (32 1/2 x 55 1/4 x 28 1/2 in.)

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This cabinet originally contained twenty-four shallow drawers intended to hold coins or medals. One of a pair, its companion in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia, still retains its original interior fittings. At some point, the cabinet's entire interior was removed and converted into a cigar humidor.

An inventory taken in 1767 on the death of the son of Robert de Cotte, Premier Architecte to Louis XIV, king of France, describes two medal cabinets made by André-Charles Boulle, probably referring to this pair.

Apart from the masks in the center of the doors and the lions' heads on the sides, which are later replacements, all the mounts are unique to the pair. The gilt-bronze caduceus with entwined snakes, normally the symbol for medicine, is here associated with Mercury, the god of commerce--an appropriate reference for the storage-place of coins.

Bibliography

"Acquisitions/1984." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985), pp. 175-76, no. 47.

Sassoon, Adrian, and Gillian Wilson. Decorative Arts: A Handbook of the Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 4, no. 6.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 162.

Bremer-David, Charissa et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993), p. 16, no. 8.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 193.

Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Decorative Arts (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 67, no. 49.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 193, ill.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 8, no. 8.

Wilson, Gillian, et al. French Furniture and Gilt Bronzes: Baroque and Régence, Catalogue of the J. Paul Getty Museum Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008) pp. 66-75, no. 5.