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Chest and spalliera with the arms of Vaggia Nerli and Lorenzo Morelli The Nerli Chest...

IMAGE number
Chest and spalliera with the arms of Vaggia Nerli and Lorenzo Morelli (The Nerli Chest), 1472 (tempera on poplar with gilding)
d'Antonio, Biagio (c.1446-1516) / Italian
The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)
tempera on poplar with gilding
1472 AD (C15th AD)
193x54.5x76.2 cms

Maker Zanobi di Domenico Depth: spalliera :; Width: panel : 162.5 cm; Width: spalliera : 193 cm; Height: side panels : 40.5 cm; Height: cassone : 109.2 cm; Height: front panel : 40.5 cm; Width: side panels : 35.5 cm; Height: spalliera : 102.8 cm; Width: front panel : 137 cm; Width: cassone : 193 cm; Height: panel : 54.5 cm; Depth: cassone : 76.2 cm; Florentine marriage chests like this one and its pair (the Morelli chest) were often decorated with narratives from Roman history, extolling marital virtue and feats of courage. The hero of the two main painted narratives of the Morelli and Nerli chests is the Roman soldier and statesman Marcus Furius Camillus. The front panel shows a scene of righteous conquest: the punishment of the schoolmaster of the ancient Italian town of Falerii, who wanted to betray his pupils by offering them to the Romans. The honourable Roman officer Camillus saved the children from this fate and gave them rods with which to beat the schoolmaster. Camillus was celebrated by Roman writers like Livy for having ‘conquered his enemies by justice and fair-dealing’. The painting warned the young wife Vaggia Nerli to care devotedly for her husband’s children, and not follow the example of the wicked schoolmaster. The side panels show the seated figures of Temperance and Prudence, two important domestic virtues that extend the themes of righteousness the and the backboard tells the story of the Roman hero Mucius Scaevola as he plunges his hand into fire to show the Etruscan king Lars Porsenna the sacrifice the Romans were prepared to make to defend their country. Both families’ coats of arms are prominently displayed on the corners of the chest, with the Nerli on the right.

Photo credit
Photo © The Courtauld / Bridgeman Images

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Dimension [pixels] Dimension in 300dpi [mm] File size [MB]
Large 5410 × 7210 px 458 × 610 mm 31 MB
Medium 769 × 1024 px 65 × 87 mm 1 MB
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