Artifact Analysis: Table Mirror, c. 1590 Analytical Essay by ClemenceD

Artifact Analysis: Table Mirror, c. 1590
Presents an artifact analysis of a Venetian painted, partially gilded and mother-of-pearl-inlaid table mirror, c. 1590.
# 153855 | 3,552 words | 21 sources | MLA | 2011 | FR
Published on Apr 11, 2014 in Art (History) , Art (Museums)

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This is a thorough research and analysis paper that presents an analysis of a Venetian painted, partially gilded and mother-of-pearl-inlaid table mirror c. 1590 by comparing it to another Venetian mirror that also dates back to the same period. Numerous illustrations are included with the paper.

Table of Contents:
Identification Details
Comparative Evaluation
Historical Contextualization
Re-evaluating Object Status

From the Paper:

"Unusual survival of late Renaissance mother-of-pearl-inlaid intarsia decoration, this Venetian casket, also known as cofanetto or scrigno, belongs to a type mentioned as a 'cassa di conzar il cao,' i.e., box for hairdressing items, which included hair dye, combs and small mirrors and were often part of a woman's trousseau or wedding gift. It was most probably executed c. 1575-1600: another example is found in the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries of the V&A, Room 62, Case 9 (that is, alongside our table mirror), which dates back from the same period, is made of the same materials and with similar techniques. The casket is embellished with mother-of-pearl inlaid on both the outer and inner surfaces of the lid, as well as panels painted with Islamic patterns. Like the table mirror or the sliding mirror used as comparative, its highly furnished painted floral ornament on black or green grounds imitates Middle Eastern metalwork; yet, unlike them, it uses idealized imagery, as was common, to make the user reflect upon their personal moral worth: in this instance, miniatures painted on parchment under glass depicting mythological themes, including the love of the gods.

"All these objects have the same unmistakable decoration and form a stylistically coherent group. Not only because of a similar pattern, - like the brackets on the sides of the table mirror frame and the scroll of its pedestal, which are repeated in the feet of the casket, - but also because of the way they are finely inlaid on rare hardwood, - be it walnut, ebony or granadilla, or beech wood, - with mother-of-pearl, the use of which is Arabic in origin. Although there are some classicizing elements in the casket, such as the miniature paintings, or the pilasters vertically dividing up the sides of the casket, the many borders and bands on its outer surface, like those of the table mirror, are filled with interlaced tendrils, or arabesques patterns, and dense floral decoration. This feature is also clearly Moresque in its derivation. Moreover, it can be traced to the Italian tradition of inlay, of a type called alla certosina, which is nowadays recognized as originating from Arabic countries."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Ajmar-Wollheim, Marta, and Dennis, Flora, eds., At Home in Renaissance Italy, exh. cat.; Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 5 Oct. 2006 - 7 Jan. 2007 (London: V&A Publications, 2006).
  • Alberici, Clelia, Il mobile veneto (Milano: Electa, 1980).
  • Bardies-Fronty, Isabelle, Bimbenet-Privat, Michele, and Walter, Philippe, eds., Le Bain et le Miroir : Soins du corps et cosmetiques de l'Antiquite a la Renaissance, exh. cat.; Chateau d'Ecouen - musee national de la Renaissance, Ecouen; Musee de Cluny - musee national du Moyen Age, Paris, 20 May 2009 - 21 Sept. 2009 (Paris: Gallimard/RMN Editions, 2009).
  • Carboni, Stefano, ed., Venice and the Islamic World, 828-1797; transl. D. Dusinberre from Venise et l'Orient, 828-1797, exh. cat.; Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, 3 Oct. 2006 - 18 Feb. 2007; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 27 Mar. - 8 Jul. 2007 (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007).
  • Corrozet, Gilles, 'Les Blasons Domestiques [contenant la decoration d'une maison honnete], 1539,' Furniture History, 25 (1989).

Cite this Analytical Essay:

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MLA Format

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