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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

 


Maker(s):Unknown
Culture:Italian; Sienese
Title:Wedding chest (cassone) with painted panel showing the Death of Lucretia
Date Made:ca. 1465-1475
Type:Furniture; Painting
Materials:Wood and tempera
Place Made:Europe; Italy, Siena
Measurements:Overall: 28 1/8 in x 72 1/2 in x 26 1/4 in; 71.4 cm x 184.2 cm x 66.7 cm
Accession Number:  MH 2008.13
Credit Line:Purchase with the Warbeke Art Museum Fund
mh_2008_13_v1.jpg

Currently on view

Description:
Wedding chest; painted panel depicting death of Lucretia

Label Text:
Cassoni are Italian marriage chests that were filled with a woman's dowry (textiles, silver, etc.) to bring with her to her new husband's home. The painted imagery on cassoni would be seen by many: they were carried through the streets as part of the marriage procession, and then used as furniture in the home. The subject of the death of Lucretia on this cassone is especially interesting because of its popularity in Renaissance art and its role in conveying moral lessons from antiquity. Certain elements are common to all the versions of the story: the rape of the Roman noblewoman Lucretia by the son of the Tarquinian tyrant king; her revelation of the crime to her husband and father; her subsequent suicide; and the revenge engineered by her family that led to the expulsion of the Tarquins and the establishment of the Roman Republic. The rape of Lucretia and its aftermath, whether historical fact, mythology, or legend, has had an enduring hold on the imagination of artists and writers in the Western world.

(Sept. 2016)

The subject of the painting on this Italian marriage chest, or cassone, is an especially interesting one because of its popularity in Renaissance art and its role in conveying moral lessons from antiquity. The rape of Lucretia and its aftermath, whether historical fact, mythology, or legend, has had an enduring hold on the imagination of artists and writers in the Western world.

Certain elements are common to all the versions of the story: the rape of the Roman noblewoman Lucretia by Sextus Tarquinius, son of the tyrant king Tarquinius Superbus; her revelation of the crime to her husband, Tarquinius Collatinus, her father Lucretius (a kinsman of the king), and their relative Lucius Junius Brutus; her subsequent suicide; and the revenge engineered by Brutus that led to the expulsion of the Tarquins and the establishment of the Roman Republic. The story of Lucretia has inspired paintings by Botticelli, Titian, and countless others, as well as writings by Livy, Machiavelli, and Shakespeare, to name but a few.

Label copy by John Varriano (edited from earlier version by WWatson) (2009)

Tags:
furniture; architecture; marriage; race; weddings

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=MH+2008.13

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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