Analysis of Dumbarton Oaks Renaissance Table

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  • Topic: Filippo Brunelleschi, Florence, Classical order
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  • Published : July 21, 2011
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Kristen Mendoza10/03/10
Written AnalysisJ. Carder

Double Cabinet
• The Dumbarton Oaks Museum, House Collection, HC. F.1929.212 (CF) • 194.31 cm H x 134.62 cm W x 55.88 cm D (76 ½ in. x 53 in. x 22 in. ) • Walnut wood with high gloss stain and corbel brackets. • Frame and panel construction with marquetry, carving and reliefs. • Decorative motifs include: illusionistic perspectives, running frieze, pilasters. • Purchased from the collection of Count Brambilla, Villa Farnese, Caprarola (near Rome), Italy, through Toledano & Co., Paris (dealer), by Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss, ca. 6/28/1929 [possibly owned by Countess Mazzarino, Milan, at time of purchase]. 

Collection of Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss, Washington, DC, ca. 6/28/1929-11/29/1940. (Dumbarton Oaks)


The Double Cabinet is a very symmetrical furniture piece. Visually, it is split into four sections, two on the top and two on the bottom. Each quadrant is decorated with an illusionistic perspective relief that is surrounded by a carved frame. The perspective reliefs are carved to look like the interior of a room, this combination makes one of the cabinet doors. The Double Cabinet has four fluted pilasters, two on the top and two on the bottom, each pilaster seems to support the entablatures. In addition, the lion paw feet that protrude outward support the cabinet so that it is roughly four inches above the floor. Under the middle entablature there are two drawers with the same circular carved flower that is shown on the cabinet doors and on the running frieze.


Classic roman architecture includes columns and pilasters. Therefore, the double cabinet can be identified as an Italian renaissance piece because pilasters and columns were so prominent in Italian renaissance architecture. On the top two rooms it is possible that Doric columns or pilasters support the side doors. It can be said that the perspective is of a room interior...
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