at the work of art
to the image in the exhibition
the Form and Function of Furniture
and chests of drawers provided opportunity to store and
organize clothing. First manufactured in France during
the eighteenth century, these large pieces of furniture
kept goods in order and safe. With the exception of gun
cabinets, pieces of furniture specifically for storing
collections and goods did not exist. Wardrobes became
very popular by the eighteenth century and were manufactured
in a variety of styles; some were more restrained and
geometric and others were monumental in proportion and
are the features of this particular wardrobe?
words would you use to describe the style of this particular
surface of this wardrobe is decorated using a technique
called marquetry. Using inlays (setting an image into
a depressed ground) or veneers (thin slices of expensive
material applied to the surface of a lesser material)
of wood, images are formed to create an overall pictorial
design. In this wardrobe, the front is decorated with
geometric shapes in dark and light shades of wood.
carefully at the design of this item.
shapes do you first notice?
what ways are the shapes set apart from one another?
has the artist differentiated central panels from borders?
The top from the bottom?
the lock on the exterior of this wardrobe. Looking at
the exterior, what do you think the interior looks like?
Remember: the contents of this wardrobe would have been
wardrobe was made in the town of Puebla, about 60 miles
from Mexico City. Puebla was the principle city of colonial
Mexico. Because it was established by the Spanish in 1531,
Puebla is the most European-looking colonial city and
was thoroughly planned by the Spaniards.
the history of marquetry in Spain and the history behind
its eventual arrival in Mexico. Why is the particular
art form so important to the Spanish? How does a wardrobe
like this one reflect the importance of woodworking in
colonial Mexico? Given its function and the detail in
appearance, why would producing a single craft be advantageous
for a village like Puebla?
Discuss with students the concept of creating objects
or furniture to preserve items of value.
students to talk about mementos that are valuable to them.
kinds of objects would they choose? What would they place
these items in? Have students create and decorate miniature
chests for their keepsakes using plain boxes with lids.
Have students look carefully at the wardrobe and take
note of the geometrical designs the artist has chosen
do you see vertical and horizontal lines?
What shapes can you detect on the doors, the sides,
and the top?
different kinds of patterns appear?
students draw on paper a design for an original piece
of furniture that could be used in their own homes. The
design should incorporate a variety of shapes and angles.
elements should there be a focus on?
do the shapes determine size, function, and decoration?