The work we're offering results from an alliance between a cabinetmaker and an ivory engraver and is part of a Neapolitan production of luxury objects, carried out in early 17th century by a workshop formed by Iacobo Fiamengo and Giovanni Battista from Curtis.
This rare writing slope is ebony veneered with an inclined top and decorated in the center with an engraved ivory plaque depicting Suzanne and the Elders surrounded by two friezes of ivory piastres and eight square and rectangular medallions in engraved ivory depicting mythological scenes, such as Hercules and the Nemean lion, as well as a frieze of engraved pastilles with a stylized motif.
At the four corners, engraved plaques depict the four cardinal virtues in the guise of young women equipped with their attributes: prudence (the mirror), strength (the broken column), justice (the scales) and temperance (water pouring out).
The ebony veneer sides are enlivened with engraved ivory plaques, with hunting scenes.
At the back, three rectangular medallions depict scenes from the Old Testament: the creation of Adam, the creation of Eve, and the tree of good and evil alternating plaques representing pilasters adorned with terms.
Our writing slope has a side drawer, and stands on four slab feet.
Napoli, Italy, 17th century.
Workshop of Iacobo Fiamengo and Giovanni Battista de Curtis
Height: 12.5cm - Width: 44cm - Depth: 38.5cm
Similar writing slopes
Auction, Wannenes, Italy, 28/2/20
Milan Museum, Sforza Castle
Other works attributed to I. Fiamengo and G. B. de Curtus: Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, signed De Curtis, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Los Angeles, County Museum of Art, Musée Benoît-De-Puydt de Bailleul, Museum of Saint Martin of Naples.
Neapolitan Workshop by Iacobo Fiamengo and Giovanni Battista de Curtis
After annexing Portugal in 1580, Spain gained the monopoly on the trade and importation of ivory and ebony, the most luxurious materials used in the creation of furniture and objects. In the 1590s furniture and objects in ebony veneer adorned with engraved ivory plaques enjoyed considerable popularity in Spain.
Iacobo Fiamengo signed collaboration contracts with several ivory engravers and hired, among others, Giovanni Battista de Curtis to work on two cabinets with scenes from the Old Testament and metamorphoses by Ovid. De Curtis' signature appears on the cabinet at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Hamburg, the only piece of furniture with such proven origin.
Reference book :
A. González-Palacios, "Giovanni Battista De Curtis, Iacobo Fiamengo e lo stipo manierista napoletano" in Il tempio del gusto. Roma e il Regno delle Due Sicilie. Milano, 1984