Sculpted and carved wood with gilt parts.
Subject of an exhaustive study by Enrico Colle, this precious wooden item brings to mind a rare type of object, almost exclusively witnessed by drawings and etchings. The base, that was once surmounted by a rocking cradle, features a frieze on the lower part that runs along the entire perimeter, decorated with the classical motifs of triglyphs and patens; the upper part is embellished by two vigorous mermaids that surface from the ocean wave and who bend backwards to support the small bed. According to the expert, the furniture item seems to have been conceived “during the second half of the Seventeenth century, for a noble family in the capital”, probably for the Colonna princes, “who have the mermaid as heraldic emblem”; its “style is the result of the artificial inventions elaborated by Giovanni Paolo Schor”. The artist, who was born in Innsbruck in 1615 and who later worked in Rome where he died in 1674, collaborated with Bernini on various occasions; in 1663 he ideated a monumental bed that is now lost, on the occasion of the birth of the first-born of the Constable Colonna and Maria Mancini, nephew of Cardinal Giulio Mazzarino. According to the aforesaid researcher, this cradle belongs to a whole series of projects attributable to Schor and his circle, in which the cradle supports rest “on a platform carved with ocean wave motifs” not unlike those fond in a cradle, which may also be dated to 1663 on the occasion of the birth of Filippo Colonna, which is still found in the Palazzo Colonna in Rome today, and which also features the mermaid figure, in this case as decorative motif.
Roma, second half of the 17th century
“Supporto per Culla”, edited by Enrico Colle, Botticelli, Treviso, pp. 2-16.