We are closed as a precautionary measure to help contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Find out more
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.
The National Gallery has endeavoured to make as many images of the collection as possible available for non-commercial use. However, an image of this painting is not available to download. This may be due to third party copyright restrictions.
If you require a license for commercial use of this image, please use the National Gallery Company's Online Picture Library or contact them using the following: