Life, Love & Marriage Chests in Renaissance Italy

16 November 2018–18 February 2019

Exhibition Overview

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During the Italian Renaissance, cassoni—elaborately decorated wedding chests—were an important part of marriage rituals and among the most prestigious furnishings in the house or palace of the newlyweds. Usually commissioned in twos, the chests were an expression of the family’s wealth and position in society. They were often conspicuously paraded through the streets from the bride’s family home to her husband’s home—a clear statement of a new economic and political alliance between elite families. The tales and imagery represented on the lavish wood panels that decorated the chests offer insight into Renaissance life and society. Drawing on a core selection of outstanding panels and chests belonging to the Museo Stibbert in Florence that rarely travel together, this exhibition explores and illustrates life, love, and marriage in Renaissance Florence. The function, craftsmanship, decorative techniques, and the significance and sources of the imagery will also be discussed.

(Photo: Frist Art Museum)

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