A cassone is a large chest, often used for a women’s trousseau and sometimes called a wedding chest. They were a prized possession and status symbol for many families and were often displayed in the bedroom. These beautiful specimens here were on display at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston when I visited last year.
Titian’s famous painting, the Venus of Urbino, shows a cassone in the background, which has led some people to speculate that this is a wedding portrait, though the woman’s gaze and posture are far more racy than other wedding portraits of the time. The real woman who sat for Titian’s painting, we believe, is Angela del Moro, a courtesan and friend of Titian’s (with quite a story that I won’t go into here, though I wrote a chapter about her in A Beautiful Woman in Venice). You can see that a servant is kneeling before the cassone.
Someone once gave me a hope chest, I guess a sort of modern equivalent of the cassone. But I wish mine looked like one of these!