CHEST WITH BACKREST
Walnut wood with certosina inlays.
This rare furniture item is a splendid specimen, rare in terms of typology and state of preservation, of a characteristic furniture for the private chambers of stately Renaissance homes, the so-called “lettuccio”, a form of day bed (on this characteristic furniture item see M. Trionfi Honorati, A proposito del ‘lettuccio’, in Antichità viva, 3, 1981, pages 39-47).
The rigorous and elegant structure of this piece features a tall backrest divided in panes inlaid with vegetal garlands found by fluttering bands. The projecting frame is decorated by a strip of certosina inlay with a geometric pattern; this decoration is also repeated along the upper edge of the chest, which is rounded, and whose seat tilts on antique hinges.
The seat is flanked by two tall armrests with sculpted central panels; their upper borders are defined by a frame terminating in front by two short scrolls. The fronts of the armrests feature two late-Sixteenth century panels of clear Mannerist inspiration with intaglio in relief, while the plinths below are decorated by two rearing lions inlaid in light wood, which face one another mirror-wise; they are almost certainly associated with the family for whom the chest was originally made.
The sides of the lettuccio have central panes with smooth background, framed by certosina inlays featuring three different geometric themes.
Comparisons have been made with a lettuccio at the Horne Museum, with regard to the scrolls crowning the armrests, and with a chest at the same museum as to the linear lozenge pattern of the certosina decoration (C. Paolini, Il mobile del Rinascimento. La collezione Herbert Percy Horne, Firenze, 2002, pages 70-72), while the vegetal scrolls with bands are comparable to those on the backrests of the Duomo of Perugia, executed by the workshop of Giuliano da Maiano and the Del Tasso brothers.
Please note that this work has been notified with Ministerial Decree of 18 November 2008 and has been declared of exceptional artistic interest. This work may not be exported from Italy.
Florence, late 15th, early 16th century