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17th century Dutch "Beeldenkast", Around 1640

17th century Dutch "Beeldenkast"
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Keizersgracht 600
1017EP Amsterdam
The Netherlands
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17th century Dutch "Beeldenkast"
Price
Price on request
Status
Available
Origin
The Netherlands
Period
Around 1640
Material
Oak and ebony veneer
Reference
123-15

Cupboard, so-called Beeldenkast with personifications of the seven Virtues

A four-door cabinet decorated with statuettes is the richest and most distinctive piece of furniture from the Dutch 17th century. The statuettes were carved in oak, not by the carpenters themselves, but by the appropriate sculptors.
Such costly furniture was ordered for newly married as dowry to accomodate the so precious (embroidered) linens. Because a ‘beeldenkast’ was often the most exclusive piece of furniture from the house, it was displayed in the 'voorsael". In this important and representative area of the house the beeldenkast showed not only the wealth and good (modern) taste of its owners, but also pointed to their familiarity with the good virtues that are so frequently depicted on it.

The oversailing cornice above a carved frieze decorated with, above four doors divided by a frieze drawer carved in high relief with acanthus scrolls. The doors to the superstructure are applied with ebony strips and carved pannels flanked and divided by three allegorical figures of Hope, Faith and Love. The doors of the base are also applied with pannels each with a central female figure amidst foliate scrolls In the upperstructure, we find again Caritas on the left and Temperance on the right. On the left door of the lower cabinet Spes and Justice, on the right door Fortitude and Prudence.

The doors flanked and divided by fluted pilasters each headed by a Corinthic capital and terminating in a spreading base carved in relief with allegorical figures of the virtues, the base drawer divided by lion's masks, on ebonised bun feet.


Iconography
In this case, the personifications of the seven primary Christian virtues are depicted. These virtues are recognizable because they are shown with their associated attributes. Thus, we identify the three 'theological virtues': * Fides, (Faith - recognizable by the book), * Spes (Hope - with the anchor and the parrot) * and Caritas (Love - with children).
In addition, the four ‘Cardinal virtues”: Justitia, (Justice - with a sword and scales), Temperantia (moderation - with a scepter and a chalice to ad water to the wine), Fortitudo (Strength – with the column ) and Prudentia (Prudence, with a snake and a mirror).
The maker of the cabinet dealt in a very creative way with the fact that he had 12 opportunities to display seven personification. However, it was decided to double the personifications in different ways to depict so there is no repetition.

The oversailing cornice above a carved frieze decorated with, above four doors divided by a frieze drawer carved in high relief with acanthus scrolls, the doors to the superstructure applied with carved pannels flanked and divided by three allegorical figures of Hope, Faith and Love. The doors of the base applied with pannels each with a central female figure amidst foliate scrolls In the upper case, we find again Caritas on the left and Temperance on the right. On the left door of the lower cabinet Spes and Justice, on the right door Fortitude and Prudence.
. The doors flanked and divided by fluted pilasters each headed by a Corinthic capital and terminating in a spreading base carved in relief with allegorical figures of the virtues, the base drawer divided by lion's masks, on ebonised bun feet.