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Samuel H. Kress Paintings Collection

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Scene from a Novella (cassone panel)


Artist: Priamo della Quercia (active 1426-1468 - )
Date: ca. 1440s
Dimensions: 16.5 x 18.25 in. (41.91 x 46.36 cm)
Object Type: Painting
Creation Place: Europe, Italy
Medium and Support: Tempera and tooled gold on panel
Credit Line: Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation via The Discovery Museum, Bridgeport, CT, 2002
Accession Number: 2009.01.03
On View: Bellarmine Hall Galleries


This panel originally formed part of the decoration of a cassone, or wedding chest. These pieces of furniture, usually found in pairs, were an important part of a bride’s wedding trousseau in 14th- and 15th-century Italy. While these chests were owned by families at all income levels, wealthier patrons could afford cassoni with elaborate decoration, sometimes with paintings by well-known artists. Very few of these chests have survived intact; another, larger panel from this cassone is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Paintings on cassoni often depicted subjects from mythology or literature that related to love and early modern ideals of female behavior. This panel may represent a scene from a popular contemporary novella, but no one has yet identified the source.

This painting was part of the group of works donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation to the Museum of Art, Science and Industry in Bridgeport, CT in 1962. When that museum became the Discovery Museum in the early 1990's, the Kress paintings were transferred to Fairfield University, where they formed the core of what would become the Fairfield University Art Museum.



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