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Cabinet en ébène à décor de scènes de la Sainte Famille, XVIIe siècle
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Sur demande € (port +200€)
Cabinets, Renaissance, XVII

Large ebony cabinet richly carved with natural motifs and wavy moldings. This type of ebony cabinet is notably present in the Château d'Ambleville but also in the Château de Fontainebleau museum and the Louvre. This is the most emblematic piece of furniture from the first half of the 17th century. These few exceptional productions kept at the Château du Serrant, in England or in Amsterdam are at the root of the term “cabinetmaker”. Indeed, in the 17th century, carpenters from the Netherlands and sculpting ebony, this exotic and very expensive wood, settled in France.

Our ebony cabinet is distinguished by the richness of its sculptures on the main leaves, but also on the sides and on the interior and exterior drawers. It is also remarkable for the complexity of the interior theater. Its austere and monochrome appearance contrasts and surprises with a lively, rich and colorful interior.

The ornamental repertoire of this cabinet is fully within the French uses of the first half of the 17th century: scrolls, cherubs and putti holding scrolls and garlands of flowers particularly close to the art of the sculptor Jacques Sarrazin as explained by Valérie Carpentier, curator of heritage at the Château de Fontainebleau. We also notice flowers and birds on the interior drawers as well as bouquets on the interior side of the two main leaves. This particularly highlighted engraving places the emphasis on nature and flowers, which corresponds to a growing interest in them in the 17th century with new exotic varieties imported and acclimatized to France.

Opening with two drawers in its upper frieze carved with cherubs, foliage and floral motifs. On the facade, its two large leaves are carved with scenes taken from medallions. On the right, the biblical episode of the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt following the massacre of the Innocents by Herod. The original engraving is by François Perrier, co-founder of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, engraver and painter whose paintings are present in the collections of Louis XIV. On the left, the Nativity watched over by the angels, in the style of Michel Dorigny, engraver and painter who worked notably for Queen Anne of Austria.

Inside, the two small leaves engraved with monochrome landscapes representing the Garden of Eden with its winged cherubim. Opened, they reveal a set of eleven drawers with wavy moldings veneered in ebony with a chiseled decoration of flowers, fruits, foliage and birds and framing two doors.

The interior box reveals a beautiful theater in satin veneer, amaranth, ebony, ivory and green-tinted ivory. It consists of a copper balustrade at the top. The checkered floor in the foreground gives way to a second one in perspective. In the background, a fine marquetry composed of ivory extends the perspective with a checkerboard to arrive at a portico framed by columns and overlooking a church in a landscape. On the ceiling, a first half-rosette in ivory is taken from a second larger one. On each side, two removable porticos with twisted columns and topped with bronze capitals frame engraved figures. These two porticos reveal six small secret drawers. A discreet pull reveals a new inlaid top and adds to the complexity and elegance of this interior. The interior of the small leaves inlaid with compass roses.

Although in the case of these ebony cabinets the attribution is a delicate exercise, the abundance and precision of the sculptures on the leaves, drawers and side panels and the complexity of the interior theater of this piece suggest a prestigious order. We note in particular that the copper balustrade of the theater evokes the cabinets of the Louvre and Fontainebleau as well as the cabinet of the Château de Serrant attributed to Pierre Gole. The lively and contrasting marquetry of this interior box also refers to the style of the latter, cabinetmaker to Louis XIV. Let us also add that the checkerboard background of the theater in perspective is also part of the criteria for attribution to Pierre Gole retained by Th. H. Lunsingh Scheurleer, art historian and Gole specialist.

French work from the 17th century.

Usual restorations particularly in the funds as well as a small drawer.
The twisted blackened wooden base dates from after the 17th century.

Height: 159cm
Width: 137 cm
Depth: 53 cm

Bibliography: Secrets of ebony by Valérie Carpentier, heritage curator at the Château de Fontainebleau.
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