Wood decorated with gilded pastework relief and polychrome.
The design that decorates the front of this piece is composed of three scenes in bas-relief that are in a vaguely Botticellian style, each separated from the next by a candelabra. The central scene is recognizable as the Judgment of Paris with a shepherd offering an apple to Venus. The scene on the left is of a youth with cornucopias, and that on the right of the Goddess of Love ripping the wings off of a cupid. On the two side panels of the cassone are traces of polychrome coat-of-arms, difficult to decipher even if partially restored.
This piece of furniture resembles the front piece of another cassone with only a slight variation. That cassone was at one time housed in the Berlin Schloss-Museum and is now lost, documented only by a photograph published before the Second World War (F. Schottmüller, I mobili e l’abitazione del Rinascimento in Italia, Paris, 1921, fig. 79, p. 40). Frida Schottmüller who was the author of this pioneering study dated her cassone to 1470s and placed its manufacture in Florence.
In St. Petersburg there is another piece of furniture that is similar to ours in its gilded pastework decorations; on its front, The Vices and The Virtues are depicted between candelabras of a type not dissimilar to ours. This piece too is referred to as belonging to the Florentine school and was dated to the middle of the 15th century. (L. Faenson, Cassoni italiani delle collezioni d’arte dei musei sovietici, Foligno-Perugia, 1983, nn. 33-37, p.n.n.)
Florence, end of the 15th century