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Small gilded box realized in the 16th century for the Belloni family of Venice.
Small trunk with open-able counter-top, lightly convex front like an urn with shaped shelf support, decorated on the front with carved monding while the remaining part is simply painted. The front is divided by four pilasters that creates three reserves; the two lateral pilasters show two twisted columns on a blue background, while the central ones are painted with gold chandeliers and traces of columns on blue background.
Carved as low relief in the monding of the two lateral reserves there are two poles to which are twisted oak branches; in the central reserve a quatrefoiled motif with flowers and crosses on the sides surrounds a laurel wreath with a ribbon to which is hung an heraldic coat of arm.
The blazon, made with a gilded band that come with two gilded circles placed in bar on a light blue bottom, is the coat of arm of the Belloni Family of Venice. On the under top frame is painted a motif with subsequent leaves while on the sides as well as on the feet a simple framing with a large blue space is painted; unfortunately the painting of the counter-top is completely vanished.
Inspect the object
Historical stylistic analysis box
Is believed that the painted or decorated and gilded trunks were furniture that came with the dowry of the bride as a wedding gift. There are the large trunks usually called bottom drawers and the rarer small trunks used as jewel box. Great discussions about if the production of this typical renaissance furniture belongs to Florence or Venice have long tormented the researchers; probably they were made in different cities with lightly different characteristics in fact we have trunks with front painted by artist from Florence but also from Venetian ones and the same worked for the trunks worked by monding and painted. The coat of arm of the Belloni Family should remove the doubt since they were a Venetian family.
Undeniable is the rareness of the renaissance furniture and the conservation that shows of the decor perfectly coherent with the ornaments of the time that place the trunk in the 16th century.
Cecilia Alberici wrote “…the plaster decoration, known as monding, is a dough of plaster, glue and some times marble powder that makes it more uniform, spread with a brush on a thin canvas fixed to the wood. The monding is shaped as a low-relief with scratch irons or molds, then painted and gilded. This technique was often used in the Renaissance to adorn with light relief trunks, coffers and frames. Since the fragility of the monding the venetian trunks come to us are just a few and are included in the range of the classicist orientations of Lombardy and of the venetian sculpture between the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century… with rice dough monding were decorated rectangular trunks”
Published in the Alberici volume we find a couple of very similar chests with a convex front protruding one like this and a shelf below.
Clelia Alberici, Il Mobile Veneto, ed. Electa 1980
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