Cassone or Wedding chest, decorated with sculptural relief depicting the Four Cardinal Virtues flanked by candelabra with armorial bearings; scene of the Rape of Prosperine fighting centaurs and a centaur carrying a woman

Wedding chest (cassone), 15th century

Unknown artist, expand_more

This wedding chest is an example of pastiglia, Italian for “pastework.” The “paste” (usually gesso) was applied to the wood and sculpted into ornamental designs. This technique was especially popular in the dazzling city of Siena, where patrons demanded rich decoration featuring themes from classical antiquity.

The women in the center personify the four cardinal virtues—Temperance, Justice, Fortitude, and Prudence. On the left, two half-man, half-animal monsters battle each other while on the right a happy girl rides on a centaur. These creatures may represent our animal instincts, which we can overcome with the help of the virtues. Such imagery is typical of chests made by artists working with the Sienese painter, sculptor, and architect Francesco di Giorgio Martini, who frequently depicted mythological beasts and battles.

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Wedding chest (Cassone) (#859)
Details
Title
Wedding chest (cassone)
Role
Artist
Accession Number
16.747
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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Cassone or Wedding chest, decorated with sculptural relief depicting the Four Cardinal Virtues flanked by candelabra with armorial bearings; scene of the Rape of Prosperine fighting centaurs and a centaur carrying a woman