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Chest front - The Condemnation of Adam and Eve, the Expulsion from Paradise and the Labours of Adam and Eve
  • The Condemnation of Adam and Eve, the Expulsion from Paradise and the Labours of Adam and Eve
    Ghiberti, Lorenzo, born 1378 - died 1455
  • Enlarge image

The Condemnation of Adam and Eve, the Expulsion from Paradise and the Labours of Adam and Eve

  • Object:

    Chest front

  • Place of origin:

    Florence (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1415 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ghiberti, Lorenzo, born 1378 - died 1455 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Terracotta covered with a lead glaze and traces of gilt mounted on wood

  • Museum number:

    7613-1861

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 64a, The Robert H. Smith Gallery, case 6

The three reliefs of Adam and Eve constitute one of the most unusual and important early purchases by the South Kensington Museum, the forerunner of the V&A. They formed part of a block acquisition of 89 pieces of sculpture and majolica. These came from two collections assembled by Ottavio Gigli and Giovan Pietro Campana during the period 1825-50.

These three reliefs are related to another of the Creation of Eve, which is now in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence. We think that they are the only surviving pieces of a series concerning the Old Testament story of Adam and Eve. The complete set may have numbered six, if there were also panels of the Creation of Adam and the Temptation.

Physical description

Three octagonal terracotta reliefs mounted on the front of a wooden chest. The orange-brown reliefs depict: The Condemnation of Adam & Eve, the Expulsion from Paradise and the Labours of Adam and Eve. The wooden surround has been decorated with gesso and gilt and there are traces of coats of arms on shields at either end.

Place of Origin

Florence (made)

Date

ca. 1415 (made)

Artist/maker

Ghiberti, Lorenzo, born 1378 - died 1455 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Terracotta covered with a lead glaze and traces of gilt mounted on wood

Dimensions

Height: 58.4 cm, Width: 168.9 cm, Depth: 7 cm

Object history note

Purchased from the Gigli-Campana Collection in 1861

Descriptive line

Chest front, wood and terracotta relief, depicting scences from Genesis, by the workshop of Lorenzo Ghiberti, Italy, ca. 1415.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Boucher, Bruce, ed. Earth and Fire, Italian Sculpture from Donatello to Canova. with the collaboration of Peta Motture, Anthony Radcilffe, Paola D'Agostio , and Carlo Milano. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001, 312 p. ill. ISBN 0300090803
Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1861 In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 29
Maclagan, Eric and Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture. Text. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1932, p. 12
Pope-Hennessy, John. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Volume I: Text. Eighth to Fifteenth Century. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1964, pp. 57-59
Raggio, Olga. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Art Bulletin. Vol. L, 1968, p. 100
Gentilini, Giancarlo. ed. I Della Robbia, La Scultura invetriata nel Rinascimento. Florence: 1992, p. 27, 152 notes 64-69

Labels and date

Above
FRONT OF A MARRIAGE CHEST (CASSONE) with scenes from the Old Testament
About 1415
Workshop of Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455)

This fragment from a marriage chest incorporates small-scale terracotta reliefs. They represent a type of sculpture developed by Ghiberti while working on the first of his famous sets of bronze doors for the Florentine Baptistery. The reliefs show scenes of the Fall of Man. Marriage chests often depicted stories from the Bible or classical literature but they were usually painted not sculpted.

Italy, Florence

Wood, with glazed terracotta reliefs with traces of gilding

Museum no. 7613-1861 [2008]

Materials

Terracotta; Wood

Techniques

Glazing; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Disobedience; Angel

Categories

Religion; Marriage; Sculpture; Furniture; Containers; Renaissance (Italian); Medieval and renaissance

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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