Baroque mirror, Bologna Early 18th century


Large frame consisting of a carved ledge with successive podded decorations; from this branch off fleshy and large scrolls ending in a curl, carved with leafy, floral and small fruit-shaped decorations. Entirely gilded with gold leaf; it has a mercury mirror.

Dimensions: 198 x 194 x 20 cm


Historical-stylistic analysis:

In the seventeenth century and throughout the following, Bologna was politically annexed to the Papal States, thus also undergoing its cultural and artistic influence. As is well known, Rome was the epicenter of the Baroque taste, particularly appreciated for its splendour, richness and absolute heterogeneity of solutions; this style became the official language of the papal court, intent on reasserting its power and wealth after the Protestant schism which occurred not many years earlier.

Established in the Capitoline city, the Baroque spread rapidly throughout the peninsula, thanks to the projects and drawings of the most important artists; It is interesting to observe how this language was reinterpreted and adapted with the typical peculiarities of each territoriality.

Our frame has a characteristic carving of the Bolognese style: clear references to the fleshy and dynamic spirals typical of the Roman Baroque, but reinterpreted in a less redundant key and with a development in space. The most interesting comparisons are possible with a pair of frames preserved at the Davia-Bargellini Museum in Bologna, the work of an anonymous Bolognese carver who takes up a project engraved by Filippo Passerini in 1698 in the ornament. The previous model to which these refer and, therefore, ours too, is the frame of the altarpiece depicting the Sistine Madonna by Raphael, in the church of San Sisto di Piacenza, made in the same year by the carver Giovanni Setti, of Roman origin: so appreciated and representing an innovative language that become a real prototype for Emilian decorations from the end of the century and the next.


The Italian frame. From the Renaissance to the Neoclassical, edited by Franco Sabatelli, Electa, Milan, 1992;
– Enrico Colle, The Baroque furniture in Italy. Furniture and interior decorations from 1600 to 1738, Electa, Milan, 2000;
– Alvar González-Palacios, “Giardini and Passarini: Facts and Hypotheses.” The Burlington Magazine, vol. 156, no. 1335, 2014, pp. 365–75.

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