Aedicule frame, Venice, 16th century


Edicule frame in ebony lacquered wood with gold decorations, and inserts in old stained marble and flowery alabaster. The layout still in Renaissance style offers a aedicule with a basement with pilasters from which two columns with Corinthian capitals and a broken tympanum pediment start. A refined decoration with floral and Greek ribbons painted in gold is spread on black lacquer, in this surface reserves containing the marbles alternate between alabaster and old stain, the two columns in old stain have carved wooden capitals with traces of gilding. The order of the moldings is complex and articulated as was the custom at the time.

Dimensions: 55 x 39 x 6 cm (21,6 x 15,3 x 2,3 in )


Historical-stylistic analysis:

Venice is the maritime city that dominates the Adriatic Sea. Its trade with the East led it to combine Arab influences drawn from the decoration of Turkish and Persian objects of Islamic culture to the prevailing Renaissance taste.

According to known studies, this type of object can be traced back to a Venetian production that developed in the sixteenth century, and saw the production of coin cabinets, full of tables. The highest expression of these artifacts that has come down to us are two doors that were exhibited at the Metropolitan and which see a complex of two precious stones inserted in frames that are quite similar but much more refined and sought after than those of the frame described.

Stefano Carboni, Venice and the Islamic East, exhibition at the Metropolitan, private collection.

An interesting article appeared in the Antiquariato n ° 282, October 2004, tells of the similar production of the cabinets.

The frames are very rare, a couple have been auctioned at Sotheby’s, while one very similar to ours is in the collection in the Kugel gallery in Paris.

The most important and largest collection is gathered in the Louvre and houses a series of portraits by Corneille de Lyon (1500-1575). We report some closer to the one described.


– Hans Huth, Lacquer of the West, The History of a craft and industry, 1550-1950, The University of Chicago Press, 1971, pl. 14;

– Alvar González-Palacios, Il Tempio del Gusto, Milan, 1986, p. 337, fig.719;

– T. Newbury, G. Basacca, L. Kanter, Italian Renaissance Frames, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1990, p. 56, fig. 27;

– T. Newbury, Frames and Framings, Oxford, 2002, p. 10.

– Stefano Carboni, Venezia e l’Oriente Islamico, mostra al Metropolitan

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