Dutch carved oak four door cupboard/cabinet or 'Beeldenkast'

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C. 1630-1650
208 cm
178.5 cm
80 cm

'Noord-Nederlandse meubelen van renaissance tot vroege barok 1550-1670', Loek van Aalst & Annigje Hofstede, p. 118 e.v.


Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, BK-NM-11448


Private collection Gents

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An oak cupboard or 'Beeldenkast' with six figures. The protruding cornice above an acanthus scrolled frieze flanked and divided by two male and one female mask, above two panelled doors, interposed by the virtues Faith, Hope and Love. The lower two doors flanked and divided by allegorical male and female terms, in the middle David with the head of Goliath. One long drawer centered and flanked by lion's heads. Raised on three ball and stile feet. The panelled doors are decorated with the story of Susanna, a narrative included in the Book of Daniel (as chapter 13).

A fair Hebrew wife named Susanna was falsely accused by lecherous voyeurs. As she bathes in her garden, having sent her attendants away, two lustful elders secretly observe the lovely Susanna. When she makes her way back to her house, they accost her, threatening to claim that she was meeting a young man in the garden unless she agrees to have sex with them. She refuses to be blackmailed and is arrested and about to be put to death for promiscuity when the young Daniel interrupts the proceedings, shouting that the elders should be questioned to prevent the death of an innocent. After being separated, the two men are cross-examined about details of what they saw but disagree about the tree under which Susanna supposedly met her lover. In the Greek text, the names of the trees cited by the elders form puns with the sentence given by Daniel. The first says they were under a mastic tree (ὑπο σχίνον, hypo schinon), and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to cut (σχίσει, schisei) him in two. The second says they were under an evergreen oak tree (ὑπο πρίνον, hypo prinon), and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to saw (πρίσαι, prisai) him in two. The great difference in size between a mastic and an oak makes the elders' lie plain to all the observers. The false accusers are put to death, and virtue triumphs.


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