desco da parto

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Masaccio (1401—1428) Italian painter


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(It. ‘tray of childbirth’).

A type of circular or twelve-sided painted wooden tray used in medieval and Renaissance Italy to present small gifts, sweetmeats, and wine to a mother after childbirth. Deschi da parto were often decorated on both sides, typically with an appropriate narrative or symbolic scene on one side and a coat of arms or family device on the other. Many of them were produced in workshops specializing in cassoni, although they were occasionally commissioned from distinguished artists. One of the best surviving examples of a desco da parto is that marking the birth of Lorenzo de' Medici in 1449 (Met. Mus., New York); it shows the Triumph of Fame and was painted by Masaccio's brother Lo Scheggia.

Subjects: Art.

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