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Writing Cabinet

c. 1600
Workshop of Iacobus Fiamengo (Flemish, recorded in Naples, Italy, between 1594–1602) Scenes based on engravings made by Dirk Volkertsz. Coornhert (Netherlandish, 1522–1590) After designs by Maarten van Heemskerck (Netherlandish (active Haarlem and Rome), 1498–1574)
Writing cabinets are elaborate pieces of furniture used to store writing supplies, documents, and precious personal possessions. Here intricately engraved ivory is interspersed with ebony veneer. This contrasting combination of white and black was favored in the Spanish courts around 1600. Complex ornamental designs frame a world map and views of countries and cities then under Spanish rule, along with a series of scenes glorifying Charles V, king of Spain and Holy Roman emperor. This piece was made in the Spanish kingdom of Naples by a Flemish immigrant cabinetmaker, perhaps as a state gift to a noble family.

Object Details

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