Writing desk
On View In:
Gallery 308
Artist:   Artist Unknown  
Title:   Writing desk  
Date:   c. 1760  
Medium:   Wood, paint, gilt, gilt bronze  
Dimensions:   53 9/16 x 60 5/8 x 28 3/8 in. (136.05 x 153.99 x 72.07 cm)  
Credit Line:   The Putnam Dana McMillan Fund  
Location:   Gallery 308  

This exuberantly carved, painted, and gilded writing desk illustrates the vitality and luxury of 18th-century Venetian interiors. Although Venice was declining as a naval power and commercial port, its nobility and bourgeoisie continued to spend lavishly on their homes. Like the furniture that enhanced these dwellings, this desk possesses a bold design, vigorous carving, and brilliantly lacquered flowers and figures. This object serves both as a writing desk, opening at the top in three different places, and as a chest of drawers, hidden behind a large cupboard door. When closed, these various doors, with their gilded bronze hinges, disguise the function of the desk.

Object Description  
Classification:   Furniture  
Physical Description:   lacquered and giltwood, gilt bronze mounts; writing desk and chest-of-drawers which opens  
Creation Place:   Europe, Italy, , , Venice  
Accession #:   76.74  
Owner:   The Minneapolis Institute of Arts