Friday, June 8, 2018

Marie-Antoinette's Japanese Lacquer

 From Blouin Art Info:
The J. Paul Getty Museum is displaying a collection of Japanese lacquer boxes, once the precious possessions of Marie-Antoinette. “A Queen’s Treasure from Versailles: Marie-Antoinette’s Japanese Lacquer” shows some of the boxes open for the first time in a presentation of Japanese craftsmanship. Marie-Antoinette inherited 50 small Japanese boxes from her mother Empress Maria Theresa of Austria in 1780, the museum says. The French queen had the cabinet door to her private sitting room in Versailles redecorated especially to display these precious pieces of lacquer and in the following eight years, she added another 30 pieces to the collection.

The Revolution in 1789 deposed the royal family, and after Marie-Antoinette was beheaded in 1793, the French government transferred the collection to the museum that would eventually become the Louvre.  These objects, now on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum, are being loaned from the Louvre as part of an exchange between the museums. Many of the boxes are shaped to resemble other objects or animals, including fans, musical instruments, a melon, and a hen. The delicate nature of the boxes’ lacquer means the exhibition will run in two rotations, so as not to damage them. (Read more.)

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