Venetian woodcarvers

Venice, early eighteenth century


Pair of large mirrors

 Golden carved wood

Size: 220 x 150 cm


Review by Dr. Lorenza Di Bartolomeo


Greatly preserved, these two astonishing large mirrors date back to the eighteenth century. They are entirely made of golden wood which is finely engraved with amazingly proportioned floral items. They are said to highly express not only the wide nature the carver got inspired by, but also his huge skills as the upper central garland and each hugely refined corner item can surely prove. All the side wooden elements can however do that, in addition to show the artist’s refined carving style and his willingness to the latest artistic innovations at that time.

As they were realized in Venice in 1720, the large mirrors are then such an example of eighteenth century Venetian wood carvers’ renowned skills. The side floral items are said to be one “trademark” of theirs. Despite few stylistic differences, it would be later recalled, as many of Vatican artworks can prove.

The authentic eighteenth century mirrors hugely improve the value of the works we’re analysing. Glass mirrors were realized in the sixteenth century, but they would catch on two hundred years later only.

Murano glassmakers, however, were better known as maestri da quari and they organised themselves as a corporation in 1569. They used to get the back of their mirrors silver-plated by using a tin-quicksilver mixture which was replaced by a silver and platinum mix mainly after 1840.  

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