Pietro Piffetti's double-body, considered by international critics "the most beautiful piece of furniture in the world", was conceived as a spectacular folding desk with bookcase. It is characterized by imposing mixtilinear forms and a complex decorative apparatus, taken from famous engravings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It is signed and dated. The piece of furniture was purchased by Pietro Accorsi in 1963.
The chest of drawers is characterized by the elegance of the shapes, less animated than the Piffetti production of the 1850s, as well as by the lozenge decoration, similar to that of other Piffetti furniture, used to hide the drawers and make the surface of the piece of furniture homogeneous. On the shelf there is a tromp-l'oeil that reproduces a quill, a small knife and a pair of glasses.
The piece of furniture consists of two parts: a coffee table, characterized by introflected curl feet, and a trunk with a casket opening. It was probably used to contain the wedding trousseau or objects of private use. The elegant ivory decoration, engraved and colored with the typical colors used by Piffetti, runs uniformly over the entire piece of furniture. The strong-hood was bought at a Sotheby's auction in New York in 2013.
The piece of furniture is entirely covered with "small fire" painted majolica tiles attributable, by comparison, to the Pesaro-based manufacture of the Lodi Casali and Callegari, founded in 1763 and remained in operation until 1787. The fashion for "coated" furniture arose in France in the mid-eighteenth century and involved a few Italian ceramic manufacturers, including Ferniani in Faenza and Folco in Albissola.
The piece of furniture is characterized by an elegant and sinuous shape and is decorated with some scenes from the Passion of Christ: on the table, a touching Pietà is visible, followed, on the band of the central drawer, by the Ascent to Calvary and the Transport of the body of Christ and , in the lower part, from the Resurrection. The iconographic sources could derive from graphic materials created by the painter Pietro Domenico Olivero, godfather of at least one of Prinotto's sons.
Conceived by Christian Gottfried Juechtzer between August 1785 and January 1786, the group in biscuit takes up the iconography of a fresco found in the villa of Arianna during the excavations in Stabia, which began in 1749. The subject of the "venditrice di amorini ”Met with immediate success thanks to the numerous artists who reproduced it in their works, such as Jacques-Louis David and Joseph-Marie Vien. The work is one of the most interesting produced in Meissen in the period of direction of Count Camillo Marcolini (1774-1814), a great expert and admirer of classical antiquities. Few other examples are known in the world today, all preserved in decorative arts museums.
It is one of the finest terracotta works made by Francesco Ladatte, a bronze sculptor of King Carlo Emanuele III of Savoy. The Fame, placed at the center of the composition, is surrounded by the personifications of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. On the back there is a second female figure, crowned and equipped with a shield, depicting the allegory of Royalty: a clear reference to the task that each sovereign had to promote and protect the Arts and Sciences. There is another version of the work, kept in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
Daughter of Charles Emmanuel III of Savoy and of Polissena d'Assia, Maria Luisa Gabriella of Savoy was born in Turin in 1729. She was initially destined to marry the dauphin of France Luigi, son of Louis XV, but the marriage negotiations were not successful and the princess entered the convent of Sant'Andrea di Chieri, where she died in 1767. According to the Savoyard accounts, she and her sisters, Maria Felicita Vittoria and Eleonora Maria Teresa, were portrayed in 1733 by the then not yet famous, but already very skilled, Louis Michel van Loo. Coming from the collections of the Duke of Aosta Amedeo di Savoia, the work still has its original frame.
In the lateral doors: Crucifixion, Noli me tangere, Legend of the three living and the three dead.
The Madonna and Child, also known as Madonna delle Nevi, comes from the chapel of Vibernone, a town near Chieri, in the Turin area. Carried out around 1495, it is probably the work of a Franco-Flemish sculptor whom recent critics identify as Andrianus de Racort, whose workshop is also credited with another wooden statue, present in the collection of the Museum and depicting a Virgin of the Annunciation.
Since the seventeenth century, it was customary to give on special occasions, such as coronations or weddings, snuffboxes with their own portrait or with the initials of name and surname. Carlo Alberto di Savoia-Carignano gave the Milanese count Pietro Bagatti Valsecchi a splendid gold box, still preserved today, with the figures formed by small precious stones. His son Vittorio Emanuele II is the monogram on the hinged lid of this snuffbox, made up of many small “brilliant cut” diamonds placed side by side.
The snuffbox is decorated on the lid with a miniature depicting Napoleon Bonaparte, attributable, for the quality of the stroke and the elegant use of colors, to Jean-Baptiste Isabey. Here the emperor is represented with the collar of the Order of the Legion of Honor, the Grand Cross of the Order of the Iron Crown on his chest and the dress used on the occasion of his marriage to Marie Louise of Austria, which took place in 1810. The portrait derives from the miniature by Jean-Baptiste Isabey with the same subject, now preserved at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The snuffbox was, therefore, a refined cadeau, made for the occasion and donated by Napoleon in memory of the event.
Refined figurative expression of Turin rococo, bearing the coat of arms of the abbot and royal almsgiver, Filippo del Carretto di Gorzegno. The coffee pot, made around 1760, is attributable to Giovanni Battista Tana, a famous silversmith documented from 1715 to 1765 and active for the House of Savoy.
The porta potpourri was made in France shortly before or during the War of the Austrian Succession. This is proved by the presence on the bronze of the “C coronné”, a mark certifying the payment of a tax introduced by the French government during the conflict and equivalent to the value of copper contained within the metal alloy. The ceramic parts were made in Meissen. The figure placed next to the jar represents the allegory of Africa and was modeled on a model by the famous Johann Joachim Kändler. The vase with lid, on the other hand, was painted by Christian Friedrich Herold and shows, within polylobate “reserves”, harbor scenes rich in details.
Considered to be the best for mechanics, Parisian watches experienced their period of greatest splendor in the eighteenth century, when they were created in different shapes. Among these, the so-called animalier pendulums, characterized by the presence of figures of animals, bulls, rhinos, lions and elephants, inserted on bronze bases and bearing circular quadrants on the rump. A true specialist in this type of production was Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain.
The tray was made in Naples shortly before the mid-eighteenth century and donated by Pope Benedict XIV to the Marquis Leopoldo del Carretto of Gorzegno and Moncrivello, as a diplomatic gift on the occasion of the second agreement between the papacy and the Kingdom of Sardinia. It joined the museum collections in 2019.
Other works on display