This high-quality cabinet from the late Middle-Ages presents a cutaway silhouette and invents new decorative motifs applied to a structure that remains Gothic. It opens with three door-leaves and stands on a base whose back is adorned with panels enriched with discs and half-discs. The panels are framed by balusters foreshadowing the Renaissance style. The arched openings of the base are also noteworthy for their early 16th century architectural spirit.
This cabinet is then clearly to be located at the crossroad of two periods. The lock mechanism, now hidden inside the furniture, leaves room for decor. This richly adorned cabinet is not doubt a piece destined to impress. Composed of one body the upper part opens with three door-leaves and is enriched by moulded panels and grotesque and scroll carvings.
Its peculiarity resides in its upper body divided in two parts with one door on the lower part and two for the upper one. This formula has been also used for a cabinet kept by the Musée Dobrée in Nantes (France) as well as on the Joinville cabinet in the Renaissance Museum of Ecouen (France).
The lateral panels are also adorned with vegetal motifs with distincive figures such as hands holding leaves or a angel head in the lower part.
The transformation of furniture during the Renaissance, at least regarding decor, expresses a societal change. The Italian Wars have allowed exchanges between France and the peninsula. This vogue for Italian taste introduced by king François I is also accompanied by a rediscovery of Antiquity and the growth of Humanism in the royal courts but also in administrations, small aristocracy and urban merchant classes. The later taking an ever growing place in the intelectual and artistic domain.
Between 1510 and 1530-40 the furniture structures set during the 15th century do not change. However the ornamental vocabulary is renewed with Italian motifs. Several factors have been at work : the direct intervention of Italian artists, the influence of monumental decors and the imitation of engravings.
This cabinet in good condition shows perfectly the persistence of Gothic structure and the simultaneous growing craze for Italian ornaments.