This sculpted ebony panel once adorned one of the two leaves of a cabinet, one of the favorite piece of furniture for the Renaissance elites, which, through its refinement and ornamental complexity, showcased the power and wealth of its owner. With its multitude of compartments, hidden behind its doors, the cabinet allowed the "amateur" to contain his objects of collections and other curiosities. Those are material and subjective incarnations of the riches of the earth which he had the power to enjoy as he pleased.
Ever more popular, these pieces of furniture experienced a real craze in the 17th century, carried by their ebony panels with refined reliefs - veneered on the common wood structure of the piece of furniture - which, animated by plays of light and shadow, give them stunning shine. Our work, showing two languid female figures in a clearing inhabited by little spirits harvesters, is one of those reliefs, which specialists have shown to be a reflection of the art of engraving of the time. If the engraved model of our panel could not be identified, several readings of the subject can be proposed. It could indeed be an allegory of the Earth, embodied by the goddess of fertility, harvests and agriculture, Ceres, recognizable here in the foreground by her crown of thorns, and the lion that 'accompanied. Busy feeding a little genius by offering her breast, she is surrounded by vines and perhaps Cybele, lying just behind her. But our panel could also be an evocation of the famous Latin proverb Sine Cerere et Bacchi friget Venus: Without Ceres and Bacchus, Venus is cold, in other words, love needs food and wine to prosper. Taken from a quote by Terrence, this proverb was very successful in 16th and 17th century engraving in Northern Europe. The vines would thus allude to Bacchus, and Ceres would be languid alongside Venus. This hypothesis can be supported by the recurring presence of the three deities Bacchus, Ceres and Venus within the decoration of the ebony cabinets of the 17th century.
2 700 €