Commode with side doors and a writing tablet, Venice, c. 1750-1760
Carcase in resinous wood, carved, painted and gilt decoration; marble top
Gift of Madame Jacques Doucet, 1934
© Les Arts Décoratifs
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French Rococo designs took original forms in mid-eighteenth century Venice. The accentuated curve of the upper part of this commode conceals a tray that serves as a writing desk, and there are two small corner cupboards in the sides. The relief ornamentation, in gilt bronze on French commodes, is made of carved gilt wood on this piece – a clever way of limiting the number of craftsmen involved in its production. The key role was that of the painter-varnisher; the carpenter and sculptor played a rather secondary part.
Decorations of Far Eastern inspiration on dark grounds were replaced in the mid-eighteenth century by dazzling decorative designs on green or blue grounds, produced using the lacca varnishing technique and covered with bouquets and garlands of flowers.