Octagonal coffer with engraving and cameosSecond third of the XVII century. Agate, Cowry, Chrysoprase, Enamel, Garnet, Bloodstone, Banded jasper, Lapis lazuli, Olivine, Onyx, Fire opal, Gold, Silver-gilt, Prasiolite, 12.5 x 19.8 cm.
An octagonal coffer whose surface is sumptuously decorated with enameled gold floral motives that link the one hundred fifty-two cameos on the piece´s lid and body. This coffer is a good example of Parisian late mannerist style, and of the practice of collecting in France at that time, as it first belonged to Cardinal Mazarino (1602-1661), prime minister to King Louis XIV (1638-1715). Upon his death, it was purchased for the collection of the Dauphin of France. While they appear to be placed in an arbitrary manner, with purely esthetic motives, the cameos may actually follow a decorative program, as some of them represent the main gods and heroes of classical Antiquity. Most date from the sixteenth century and were made in Italy, although some may be considered older. This work was brought to Spain by King Felipe V (1683-1746) as part of his inheritance and is part of the group of decorative arts known as The Dauphin´s Treasure, kept at the Prado Museum.