This monumental display cabinet is composed of three windows, designed to exhibit fine china and other sophisticated crockery, a custom revealed by the period photographs. The high society of the time collects objects of art and priceless tableware, and enjoys to show them to the guests while preserving them in this precious and imposing case. A true ceremonial piece, this opulent dresser was arranged in the reception hall that once was the Salone delle Quattro Porte in Palazzo Papadopoli . The smaller surface of this piece is pretext for an abundance of carvings that confirm the prestigious nature of it. The numerous sculptures are the work of an extremely skilled sculptor. The vertical uprights are decorated with images of old sheathed bearded men. The sheath is the support for a foliage frieze that ends with a scroll. The protruding cornice rests on corbels, representing a vocabulary of ornamental architecture. It supports four vases with lids and an armorial pediment flanked by two griffins and crowned with a cardinal's hat: it is a hat with a flat, wide-brimmed shape and from which hang large silk cords.
Between the cornice and the window, a carved frieze of festoons alternates with monsters. Shells are arranged above the festoons.
The extreme quality of the sculpture and the much-sought decor is indicative of the work of an exceptional sculptor, whose mastery was unrivaled.
The coat of arms on this dresser is the Aldobrandini's, whose most famous member was Pope Clement VIII, between 1592 and 1605. Having his nephews quickly appointed cardinal in order to enlarge the Aldobrandini's power, we owe this very Pope the concept of « nepotism », « nepote » being the Italian for nephew. The Aldobrandini, from Florence, increased their wealth during the Middle Ages and adopted the coat of arms azure per bend embattled or and six stars or. Since 16th century it is framed with the cardinals symbols, just like it is on this amazing dresser : a broad brimmed hat with tassels, the galero. Agostino Caracci, brother of considerable Anibal Caracci, designs this exact coat of arms for the cardinal Cinzio Aldobrandini.
The Aldobrandini heraldy is sculped on many Italian buildings, it is for example carved with the galero in the Aldobrandini Chapel of Ravenna's Duomo. Used by Clement VIII, it is often seen with the papal keys, like in Santa Maria Maggiore where his gravestone was designed by the illustrious sculptor Bernino, and on the coins minted with his blazon.
An Aldobrandini descent from his mother Maria Maddalena, Nicolo Aldobrandini-Papadopoli wished to preserve the memory of this lineage in the Palazzo Papadopoli decoration.