Artwork of the Week: June 26

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The Netherlands, Cabinet on a Stand. Ebony, tortoiseshell, ivory, floral, mixed woods, and gilded bronze, about 1690. H: 77 in.; W: 51 in.; Depth: 19 3/4 in. Purchased with funds from the Florance Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott, 1962.21. Gallery 23

The Netherlands, Cabinet on a Stand. Ebony, tortoiseshell, ivory, floral, mixed woods, and gilded bronze, about 1690. H: 77 in.; W: 51 in.; Depth: 19 3/4 in. Purchased with funds from the Florance Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott, 1962.21. Gallery 23

This Dutch cabinet is a tour-de-force of 17th-century luxury furniture-making techniques. The rich, red tortoiseshell veneer mimics Japanese lacquer and is beautifully contrasted with the carved ebony frame. The inlays of colored woods and ivory are expertly arranged in elaborate floral designs. Behind the central door are more drawers, inlays, a carved ivory plaque of a mythological scene, and a miniature stage surrounded by mirrors to create an illusion of deep space. According to 17th-century inventories, such cabinets might contain small paintings, jewelry and gems, medals and antique coins, and even religious relics. A striking work of art in its own right, the cabinet may have formed part of a kunstkamer (“art room”)—a collection of natural and manmade wonders.


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