Cassone with the Conquest of Trebizond, 1460s

A Cassone is a large marriage chest that was one of the trophy furnishings of rich merchants and aristocrats in Italian culture.  These beautifully painted and gilded works of art were given to a bride by her parents as their contribution to the wedding. It was filled with the personal goods of the bride and placed at the foot of the bed in the bridal suite.

"This cassone was probably made to celebrate a marriage in the Strozzi family, as it is decorated with family emblems on the sides. The scene on the front is thought to portray the conquest of Trebizond. However, two other surfaces of the cassone are decorated with painted imitations of the textile designs. The exchange of expensive luxury fabrics and jewels was an important component of wedding preparations during the Renaissance. The inside of the lid and the back panel, seen here, are both painted to look like the magnificent "pomegranate"-style velvets, with two heights of silk pile and metal-thread brocading. These painted surfaces refer to the valuable contents that would have been stored in such a chest." - Metropolitan Musuem


What I found especially fascinating here, is the back view that seems to be unfinished. Because it was made to be placed at the foot of the bed, the back was not finished off like the rest of the chest and you can see the construction, yet they did decorate it to some extend. Almost like an afterthought or perhaps a later addition. Might this have been done by someone else at a later stage?   Note the patina on the light wood - scratches and cracking.



The cassone was decorated with Tempera, gold, and silver.



Marco del Buono Giamberti (Italian, Florentine, 1402–1489); Apollonio di Giovanni di Tomaso (Italian, Florentine, 1415/17–1465)

Tempera, gold, and silver on wood

Metropolitan Museum