Tour: Italian Cabinet Galleries
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The Italian Cabinet Galleries contain paintings and precious objects like those that would have been in the small private chambers or studies (studioli) of an Italian Renaissance prince, humanist, or well-to-do merchant. In such rooms, collectors expressed their individual taste and interests through the rare and beautiful objects they chose to display.
A studiolo generally held objects that were small and finely detailed, meant to be handled and admired at close range: paintings and bronzes, carved gems, coins and medals, rock crystal vessels, gilt and silver clocks, small arms, ivory carvings, and brightly painted maiolica dishes. Many of these objects reflected the Renaissance fascination with classical Greece and Rome. Collectors sought out rare antiquities and commissioned works from modern artists that incorporated heroes and motifs from the ancient world. The objects in these galleries also reflect the international influences at work in Renaissance Europe, for example the spread of Italian taste for ornamentation and the antique to the court in France, and the incorporation of styles from the Near and Far East in Italian bronze and ceramic vessels.