Frame (originally a portable altar?)
Rome, first half of the 17th century, ebony with pietre dure decoration, 61 x 35 x 10 cm, double-sided painting attributed to Pieter Aertsen (1508-1575), Christ Bearing the Cross (front) and the Annunciation (reverse), oil on panel, The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London, P.1978.PG.3

A series of small displays focused around one object, the point of Illuminating Objects is to dust off (sometimes quite literally!) these wonderful, unexpected and largely unknown objects. Each object will remain on display for three months.

The project is delivered in partnership with interns from disciplines outside of the History of Art. Their disciplinary backgrounds have included anthropology, theology and the sciences. Partnership institutions are SOAS, King’s College London, the University of Kent in Canterbury, Imperial College and University College London. Illuminating Objects has been running since 2012.

One of the challenges for the Illuminating Objects Interns is to communicate their research in the Gallery and through the possibilities offered by the website and other digital channels.

The current display in The Courtauld Gallery is from 8 June 2017. Natasha Gertler, a Masters student in Science Communication at Imperial College London, examines a beautiful inlaid frame made in Rome in the first half of the 17th century, from the viewpoint of the geology of the decorative stones.

Find out more about the current display.