National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION

Tour: Italian Cabinet Galleries

Overview | Start Tour

image of Flask image of Plate with Venus in her chariot and Cupid, riding through a night sky image of Christ Crucified
1 2 3
image of Vulcan Capturing Mars and Venus image of Self-Portrait image of Venus and Cupid in a Landscape
4 5 6
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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.

Related Tours:
French Renaissance Ceramics
Italian Renaissance Ceramics
Giorgione and the High Renaissance in Venice
Fresco Cycle with the Story of Procris and Cephalus


1Medici Porcelain Factory, Flask, c. 1575/1587, or slightly later
2Attributed to Nicola da Urbino or a close associate; probably lustered in the Workshop of Maestro Giorgio Andreoli of Gubbio, Plate with Venus in her chariot and Cupid, riding through a night sky, c. 1530/1535
3North European 18th Century, Possibly German, Christ Crucified, c. 1700
4Guglielmo della Porta, Vulcan Capturing Mars and Venus, c. 1553/1555
5Alfonso Ruspagiari, Self-Portrait, late 16th century
6Circle of Giorgione, Venus and Cupid in a Landscape, c. 1505/1515