Chest of drawers, Paris, c. 1700-1710

Marquetry of sycamore, ebony, mahogany and ivory; chased gilt bronze
Long-term loan from the Musée National du Moyen Age-Thermes et Hôtel de Cluny, 1980
Inv. CLUNY 11762
© Les Arts Décoratifs / photo: Jean Tholance

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The cabinetmakers of the second half of the seventeenth century developed a “four color” marquetry technique, mostly using colored woods that were dyed or heat-colored to increase their diversity; many large floral and ornamental compositions were made this way. As was the case with Boulle marquetry, the parts were cut out in superposition, then inserted into the background. Although the colors have now faded, the pictorial effects originally obtained earned the technique the name of peinture en bois (“painting with wood”); the compositions were based on prints, notably by the most famous flower painter, Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (1636-1699).

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