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The Nerli Chest
Biagio d'Antonio and Jacopo del Sellaio and Zanobi di Domenico

Furniture paintings often told their viewers how to behave, and what to avoid. The 'spalliera' panel above the chest shows Mucius Scaevola. He plunged his hand into a fire to convince Rome’s enemies of her citizens’ bravery.

The main painting set into the chest tells the cautionary tale of a teacher who offered his pupils as hostages to his city’s enemies. He was caught and punished.

This was an important message for Florentine Renaissance women like Vaggia Nerli, who were instructed that their principal responsibility was to care for their husband’s children.

Key facts
Artist Biagio d'Antonio and Jacopo del Sellaio and Zanobi di Domenico
Artist dates 1446 - 1516; about 1441 - 1493; active 1464 - 1474
Full title Cassone with the Arms of Vaggia Nerli and Lorenzo Morelli (The Nerli Chest)
Date made 1472
Medium and support Tempera, oil and gold on wood
Dimensions 109.2 × 193 × 76.2 cm
Acquisition credit On loan from The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London
Inventory number L912.1
Location in Gallery Room 58
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