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Pair of Italian 18th Century Baroque Armorial Painted Cassapanca Benches
This sensational pair of Italian 18th century Baroque Cassapanca polychrome lhand painted and acquer benches sourced in a Palazzo in Florence boast a high scrolled back and scrolled lower frame, scalloped shaped sides and the seats that open to reveal a storage space. The folding top to the seated area still has the original iron hinges and show escutcheon on the front and sage green velvet upholstered removable cushions.
Decorated overall with typical Italian Baroque floral and foliate motifs, the benches feature the most impressive and captivating hand painted tromp l'oeil and faux marble effect, rendered in a neutral warm colors palette ranging from faded sage green, grey to different shades of ocher and yellows, with all original finish and patina throughout.
The tall elaborate back is wonderfully shaped and outlined in C-and S-scroll adorned with acanthus leaves paintings. A seashell decorate the crest on top of the backrests that are centered by two different crowned Coat of Arms of the Italian family that commissioned these pieces in the late 1700's. The inner shield of the armorial is divided in four sections featuring black lions and eagles on a red background alternating with black and white geometrical patterns. These animals represent of majesty, strength, and deathless courage.
These rare painted armorial storage hall benches are extremely hard to come across, particularly in pair and of this age and in such good condition.
Striking statement and conversation piece, injecting gravitas into the period or contemporary interior. This pair you see here boast convenient scale and very usable size, they can be placed facing each other or one next to the other even in a narrow hallway as they used to do in antiquity, they will work wonderfully in an entrance, foyer or salon or at the end of a room. They will be focal points in any area they are placed, whether that is a rich and grand interior or a rustic European design.
These carved benches were used for both seating and for storage. They are structurally in very good condition and sturdy. The paintwork is still bright and stable, with signs of the expected wear such a piece would bear after 250 years which do nothing but add still more antique character. The original patina makes them even more sophisticated. Lacking a key.
This cassapanca would have been in a public part of the noble Palazzo, possibly in the entrance or a processional room to remind guests of his status and provide a resting place while they waited to be admitted into a higher status interior.
Popular during the late middle ages, the Italian Cassapanca translates as "chest-bench " emerged from a combination of the cassone (a low chest with lid) belonging to rich Italian merchants and aristocrats and a panca (bench with a back) it was provided with a high paneled back and evolved into a cassapanca, which was the forerunner of the sofa.
The Italian Renaissance painted cassapanca, while functioning as piece of furniture were also a fine art piece. The entire surface of the bench and high back panel were lavishly painted by artists, covering the entire surface with exuberant decoration, in depictions of heraldic crests, architectural motifs, legendary figure, animals and more, all in trompe-l’oeil -French for "fool the eye" - or three-dimensional techniques.
Dimensions in CM: H. 150, W.120, D. 35 cm
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