Display Cabinet (toonkast)

Unknownearly 17th century

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

This cabinet, used to store and proudly display precious possessions, inventively combines architectural forms with elegantly carved figural and ornamental motifs. The two main doors are decorated with allegorical figures of two of the three Christian theological Virtues: Faith and Hope, holding their respective attributes of a cross and an anchor. The third Virtue, Charity, appears on the central drawer, suckling two children.

Four female figures representing the seasons of the year support the upper register of the cabinet. Behind them, five small busts with male and female heads decorate the tops of pillars, perhaps symbolizing the five senses. Depicting the Virtues along with these allegorical figures probably served as a reminder that pleasure must not take precedence over Christian principles.

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  • Title: Display Cabinet (toonkast)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: early 17th century
  • Location Created: Flanders, Belgium
  • Physical Dimensions: 210.2 x 158.1 x 74.6 cm (82 3/4 x 62 1/4 x 29 3/8 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Walnut and oak veneered with ebony, tortoise shell, coconut?, and ebonized wood
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Furniture
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 88.DA.10
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Sculpture & Decorative Arts
  • Culture: Flemish (probably Antwerp)
  • Classification: Decorative Arts