Cabinet in ebony, poplar, pear, amaranth, amourette, satinwood, tortoiseshell, ivory and stained bone. It is composed of two distinct parts: the upper part and the base.
The upper part is surmounted by a cornice and two drawers on the length of the frame. We can see different characters carved on these drawers, mainly children and nymphs. Underneath are two panels, each with a carved medallion representing a mythological scene: the judgment of Paris.
These leaves open onto twelve drawers surrounding two interior doors. When open, these doors reveal a theater entirely inlaid with exotic woods, stained bone and tortoise shell. On either side of the theater are mirrors that enlarge the space and accentuate the architectural appearance. Two paintings are located on either side: Galatea on the left and the Cyclops Polyphemus on the right.
The base of the cabinet has four drawers whose front, surrounded by guilloche moldings surrounding an engraving, is similar to the fronts of the interior drawers of the cabinet.
Two engraved panels representing country landscapes are located behind five twisted columns. Four aprons representing chimeras with Asian influences are located between the columns, in front.
17th century period
Restorations made by Mr Henri Collet
H. 203 x W. 170 x D. 56 cm
The judgment of Pâris
The two sculpted medallions on the exterior doors represent the Judgment of Pâris. On the left door, Hermes presents the apple of discord to Paris, who is seated. The young man is recognizable by his shepherd's staff. Although he is a Trojan prince, he is, at this point in the story, tending the flocks on Mount Ida. Hermes, the messenger of the gods, can be recognized by his caduceus: two snakes surround a laurel or olive stick. He can also be identified by the wings on his helmet.
On the right door, we see three women who are Aphrodite, Hera and Athena. Aphrodite, goddess of love and desire, can be recognized by her beauty, her nudity and Love, a winged child, who is on her right. Athena, goddess of war and wisdom, is recognizable by her warrior outfit. Finally, Hera can be identified by her fetish animal: the peacock.
The episode of the judgment of Paris is very important, since it is the element that will trigger the Trojan War. This episode follows a previous event: the apple of discord.
In honor of the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, the gods organized a feast on Olympus. However, the goddess Eris, goddess of discord, jealous of not having been invited, decided to send on the banquet table a golden apple on which one could read "for the most beautiful". Three goddesses fought over this apple: Aphrodite, Athena and Hera. In order to decide who would get the apple, Zeus decided that a human would be the judge, and he sent Hermes to wake up Paris, a Trojan prince, who was taking a nap on Mount Ida. The three goddesses then appeared to Paris, each offering him a gift if he agreed to give them the apple. Aphrodite promised him the hand of the most beautiful woman in the world, Athena promised him the greatest victory and Hera the sovereignty over all men.
Paris chose to award the apple to Aphrodite. Helen being then the most beautiful woman in the world, Paris went to steal her from Menelaus and took her to Troy, thus triggering the long Trojan War, then the chaotic return of Odysseus and his companions who will be the subjects of the Illiad and the Odyssey.
Several elements evoke the god Pan, deity of shepherds, flocks and woods. Since the Renaissance, this god, who takes the form of a satyr, is associated with lust.
These representations are mainly found on the carved drawers at the top of the cabinet. We see children (or putti) playing with nymphs, a goat (left drawer) or riding a satyr (right drawer). These putti are mixed with women lasciviously lying on the sides of the drawers (the nymphs), sometimes in very suggestive scenes as on the right drawer where a child lifts the dress of one of these nymphs.
On the doors there are also medallions in which women are sculpted, which could represent the five senses. One woman is looking into a mirror (sight), one is holding a bird (touch and hearing), another is holding a flower to her nose (smell) and the last one is holding a glass (taste). Indeed, Pan has a predilection for the pleasures of the senses, which could be represented by these female figures.
Galatea and Polyphemus
Galatea is a marine deity loved by the Cyclops Polyphemus (the famous Cyclops who stranded Odysseus and his travelling companions on their return from Troy). However, Galatea loves Acis, son of the god Pan. One day when they are both embracing, Polyphemus surprises them. Mad with jealousy, he throws a huge rock at the young shepherd and kills him. Galatea will then transform her beloved into a river.
On these paintings, we see Galatea on the left and Polyphemus, ready to throw his rock, on the right. Galatea is recognizable by the large veil she holds in her hand, which is often found in representations of the deity.
Aphrodite and Ploutos
The two mythological figures engraved on the inner doors could be Aphrodite and Ploutos. Indeed, the woman on the left, represented naked, is accompanied by love, a winged child with his bow and arrows. The young man in the right doorway holds a sickle in his right hand and a cornucopia in the other. Plutos, often represented as a young man, is the son of Demeter, which could explain the sickle. The cornucopia is his attribute.
45 000 €