11174

AN IMPRESSIVE PAIR OF MASSIVE FAUX ROSSO LEVANTO AND GILTWOOD VASES

Probably Italian. First Quarter Of The Eighteenth Century.

Measurements

Height: 62" (157 cm); Diameter: 23 1/2" (60 cm); Slight difference in height, by 1".

Reaseach
Of giltwood and faux painted decoration. Each surmounted by a foliate giltwood cap above a painted faux rosso levanto vasiform paneled body. Both raised on an inverted bud-shaped socle resting upon a bullnose molding and plain square plinth. Gilding sympathetically restored. There are some small differences to the interpretation of the design/proportion of the carving. Shrinkage cracks to bodies and one socle consistent with age. Some charring to top inner surface indicating once used to hold large candles.

Provenance:
Private collection, Switzerland.

Imitation of natural materials in decorative painting has been practiced for centuries. In ancient Egypt, rare and foreign wood grains were mimicked on sarcophagi. The ancient Greeks and Romans followed, decorating their villas with impressive trompe l’oeil architectural masterpieces, such as the faux marble panels employed at the Villa Arianna, Stabiae circa 80 BC (figure 1).

From the Renaissance onward, faux finishing techniques were practiced and improved both for the imitation of natural materials to create architectural elements such as walls, columns and moldings, but also on furnishings and objet d’art. Two schools developed; the Italian, which was loose and the effects best achieved when viewed at a distance, and the French which was more formal and intricate. Eighteenth century interiors with exceptional faux painted schemes include the Casino Borghese, redecorated with gilding, faux marble finishes and trompe l’oeil frescoes in the late 18th century by Prince Marcantonio Borghese and his architects Antoino and Mario Asprucci (figure 2).

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.