COIN CABINET IN PIETRE DURE
pearwood with ebony veneer, pietra dura panels, sculptures and mounts in gilded bronze
Beginning in the second half of the 16th century in Florence the artisans of the Grand Duchy began to specialize in the creation of inlaid artifacts, a specialty still existing to this day, that led to the founding of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in 1588. In the “Galleria dei Lavori” every sort of artifact was created, sometimes by the most highly skilled of artists.
The cabinet under consideration is of an architectural form on a base with moldings and is supported by a tabletop on spiral columns. The front is defined by four drawers on each side of a central section, each drawer having two pietra dura inlaid panels, one with flowers and one, birds. The central section, which protrudes slightly, is designed as an architectural niche with a broken pediment and is embellished with inlaid pietra dura panels (lapis lazuli, red flowering and yellow jasper), sculptures in niches and classical busts in gilt bronze. A small door on the front of this section provides access to a compartment with three drawers. Both sides of the cabinet have a central panel depicting a floral vase in lapis lazuli resting on a base, on each side of which are panels in colored marble with geometric designs.
The predominant use of softer stones in the pietra dura inlays and the relative sobriety of the composition leads us to date this valuable piece with certainty to the first decades of the 1700s.
Florence, first quarter of the 18th century