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Casket

A work made of steel and gold.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of steel and gold.

Date:

c. 1550

Artist:

French

About this artwork

This small casket or strongbox with its handle and locking mechanism was well designed for the restless, mobile nature of French court life in the sixteenth century. The casket’s intimate scale was suitable for housing jewelry, devotional aids, and other precious objects that the owner wished to transport when following a prince from one palace or castle to another.

Here, the intricate interlace of bright gold wire is a counterpoint to the blackened steel that forms the body of the casket. These designs are executed in the labor-intensive technique called false damascening, whereby soft gold wire is burnished or rubbed into a crosshatched steel surface. This technique was practiced mostly by sword cutlers or furbishers, who diversified their usual bladed products with caskets like this that might appeal to ladies as well as gentleman of the court. The monogram of intertwined D’s over an H ornamenting the front and also under the base of the casket may reference Diane de Poitiers, the official mistress of King Henri II of France.

Status

On View, Gallery 238

Department

Applied Arts of Europe

Title

Casket

Origin

France

Date

1550

Medium

Steel and gold

Dimensions

9 × 10.5 × 7 cm (3 1/2 × 4 1/8 × 2 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Constance and Donald Patterson through the Old Masters Society

Reference Number

2015.411

IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/230001/manifest.json

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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