An Italian Baroque Cabinet on Stand featuring Reverse Painted Psyche and Cupid
A seventeenth-century princely cabinet-on-stand with twenty eight glass paintings in bright colors; eight of the Italian countryside found behind the central door, and the remaining nineteen paintings — fronting the drawers of the cabinet — depicting the apotheosis of Psyche, her falling in love with cupid and successful trails leading to her immortality. The case of the cabinet is pine, veneered with rich ribboned ebony and luxuriously decorated with gold-backed turtle shell, lapis lazuli, painted gold. The stand dates within 50 years of the cabinet, features ebonized wood with parcel gilt swags, and, along with the cabinet, is consistent with similar pieces made in Naples during the last quarter of the seventeenth century.
Similar ebony and ebonized cabinets decorated with tortoiseshell and painted glass panels depicting Biblical and mythological scenes can be found in some of the most prestigious European collections such as the collection of the Marquess de Campo-Franco in Palma de Mallorca, the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, in the Palazzo Barberini in Rome and in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. Although a number of such cabinets are in, or originated from, Spanish collections, they were traditionally made in South Italy. Throughout the seventeenth century Naples had particularly strong ties with Spain as the former was part of the Spanish Empire and thus artistic influences from the Iberian peninsula were extremely strong. Italian descriptions of comparable pieces can also be found in the archives of the Prince of Avellino, the Duke of Calabritti and the Cardinal Caraffa, see Alvar González-Palacios, Il tempio del Gusto, Vol. II. Milan, 1986, pp. 222-224. Cabinets with such lavish decoration were also popular with Grand Tourists and many were exported to England and other parts of Northern Europe. One of the earliest examples of such piece is that purchased by Sir Thomas Isham, who returned to his family home in Northamptonshire in 1676 with a painted-glass-mounted cabinet he had acquired in Naples.
Dimensions: 78 x 72 x 21 in.
Date: c. 1670