Travel Desk

Attribuito a Leone Leoni

Milan (Sixteenth century)

Wood, bronze, silver, textiles, stones, 59.2 x 89.5 x 43.7cm

Inv. 2425

The Galleria Estense, Modena

This marvellous portable desk, originally belonged to Ferrante Gonzaga, viceroy to Emperor Charles V in Italy. It  came in the possession of the Este following the death of Giuseppe Maria Gonzaga di Guastalla (son of Ferdinando and Maria d’Este) in 1749. The rich and highly refined decoration in embossed metal has been attributed to the workshop of the great sculptor Leone Leoni whom Ferrante patronized often. The gilded silver statuettes that occupy the niches of the inner façade (arranged like the scaenae frons of a theatre) develop three iconographic themes: the glory of arms and military virtue; the rewards of peace and good government; and the joys of love.