A Renaissance Cabinet Rediscovered (November 22, 2005 to August 5, 2007)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 22, 2005 to August 5, 2007
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Currently on view at: Getty Center, Museum North Pavilion, Gallery N101
1580; minor additions in late 1850s
Walnut, oak, paint, and iron; linen-and-silk lining
307.7 x 153.4 x 57.2 cm (121 1/8 x 60 3/8 x 22 1/2 in.)
The upper section of this imposing, two-tiered cabinet is enclosed by three doors. The middle door showcases a carved Apollo based on a print after Raphael. An elaborate, stylized display of human figures and masks, curling foliage and flowers, and scrollwork surrounds Apollo. The two outer doors, with arched panels, are inset with painted panels in yellow monochrome. The central door of the lower section also features a monochrome painting. Boldly carved griffins peek out from each end of the lower section. The very top of the cabinet originally included a painted panel depicting Saint Jerome.
J. Paul Getty acquired this cabinet in 1971. For many years, it was believed to be a counterfeit made in the 1800s. But recent scientific, visual, and archival analysis has established that the cabinet is an original piece of late Renaissance--also known as Mannerist--furniture made in 1580 in Burgundy, one of the great centers of French furniture production in the 1500s. The cabinet's maker has yet to be established, but it is possible that the most renowned Burgundian cabinetmaker of the period, Hugues Sambin, produced the piece. The cabinet may have been based on engravings by Sambin's contemporary, Jacques I Androuet du Cerceau, who was well known for his furniture designs. Even if neither artist contributed to this cabinet, their designs for similar cabinets and decoration almost certainly influenced the artist who did.