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Upper Paneling from a Sacristy Armoire

Upper Paneling from a Sacristy Armoire

c. 1460-1475

attributed to Giuliano da Maiano

(Italian, 1432-1490)

Walnut, inlaid with holly and ebony

Overall: 160 x 476 x 69.2 cm (63 x 187 3/8 x 27 1/4 in.)

Gift of the John Huntington Art and Polytechnic Trust 1915.526

Description

The imagery on the inset panels is the result of a technique known as intarsia, the skilled inlaying of woods of different colors to create a type of mosaic, popular during the 15th and 16th centuries in Italy for the decoration of paneling and furniture for studies, small rooms, and church sacristies. This large set of five intarsia panels comes from an unknown Florentine church. In its original setting the panels rested upon a row of similarly decorated cupboards (a sacristy armoire) which were used for the storage of liturgical vestments and books. This panel would have therefore been seen at eye level. The central panel depicts the Resurrection of Christ. The two outside panels depict the emblem of Lorenzo de Medici-three plumes encircled by a jeweled ring above a scrolling ribbon containing the Latin word SEMPER (Always). Lorenzo de Medici (1449-92) was the ruler of Florence when this sacristy armoire was constructed and was the likely patron. It seems to be the work of Giuliano da Maiano, an architect and intarsia-maker also responsible for the intarsia in the sacristy of Florence Cathedral.

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