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Commode

Jean Deforgesc. 1750-55

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
Lisbon, Portugal

This commode is entirely covered in precious panels of Japanese lacquer from the mid-seventeenth century decorated with gilded relief motifs on a black ground and with mother-of-pearl and gold leaf applications. The upper drawer shows images of a dragon among clouds on the left and a thick bamboo stem on the right, while the lower drawer has a flowery field and two wild animals fighting. The panels on the flanks are decorated with exotic birds in naturalist landscapes. The perfect harmony of the opulent bronzes that spread over the lacquer and decorate the panels, flanks and legs manages to bring the entire piece together. The exceptional escutcheon runs vertically and skilfully links the top (under the marble surface) to the decoration that frames the shaped apron and forms the commode’s lower axis.
Furniture such as this piece, perfectly described aspittoresque, epitomises the luxury, extravagance and brilliance achieved by the French decorative in the middle of the eighteenth century.

Details

  • Title: Commode
  • Creator: Jean Deforges
  • Date Created: c. 1750-55
  • Location Created: Paris
  • Physical Dimensions: H. 90 x W. 130 x D. 60 cm
  • Medium: Oak and ebony, Japanese lacquer panels, bronze and marble

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