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Spanish Varguenos in European Works of Art from the Collection of Luigi Pellettieri

The shape of the vargueno originated in Renaissance Spain in the 15th century and continued to be popular through the 19th century. Varguenos were used as objects of status for the Spanish court which required portable furniture to accompany statesman, royalty and ambassadors to travel within Spain’s global empire.

These highly prized cabinets were originally made as portable desks, thus the sturdy iron handles on the sides made it easy for transport. The fall-front is used as a writing surface. The interior is equipped with small drawers, pigeonholes and secret compartments and used to store documents and rare items such as coins, jewelry, silver and gold. Typically, the interior is much more richly decorated that the exterior with ebony, ivory, tortoiseshell or other inlays of intricate geometric patterns. The vargueno can be placed on a trestle support for ease of travel or on top of a matching chest for a more permanent placement.

Many fine examples can be found in Iberian Royal collections, The Metropolitan Museum and the Hispanic Society of America in New York.

Time & Location

European Works of Art in The Collection of Luigi Pellettieri
Thursday, July 15 at 11am

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