Header for Resources for Teachers


Art Objects are Part of Daily Life: Wardrobe


Carved wood, inlaid wood of a contrasting tonality,
and engraved painted bone
modern base, inner structure and hinges
Eighteenth century
230 x 140 x 52 cm

Wardrobes presented a solution to the problem of keeping one's clothes well organized and undamaged.


Wardrobes were made to keep garments in.

Technique or Process

This wardrobe is unique for the rich, complex, and fine inlaid wood decoration that covers the entire surface of its door panels. Molding runs across the upper part of the closet. The skirting features the same flowing, curvilinear design as the feet. The base of this wardrobe follows the lines of an English Queen Anne design and possibly is a copy of the original, which was replaced recently due to its state of disrepair. The sides of the wardrobe have a complex and wavy interlaced design formed of a double molding that ascends the length of the panel. The inlay work on these sections is more delicate.

Cultural Roots

Closets and chests of drawers were first manufactured in France during the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. They were symbolic of a rational approach to daily life at a time when everything had to be catalogued, labeled, and kept in order according to the rules of reason. Before wardrobes, the inhabitants of New Spain kept their belongings in boxes and trunks. With the exception of gun cupboards, pieces of furniture specifically designed for storing collections of objects of the same type did not exist. Wardrobes presented a solution to the problem of keeping onešs clothes well organized and undamaged.

Lesson Plans
Visual Arts Lesson: Creating a kaleidoscope
Extension Activities

Math: Tessellations
Social Studies: Enlightenment


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