Popular during the Late Middle Ages, the Italian Cassapanca emerged from a combination of the cassone (a low chest with lid) and a panca (bench with a back). They were lavishly painted by artists, covering the entire surface in depictions of heraldic crests, architectural motifs, legendary figure, animals and more, all in trompe-l’oeil or three-dimensional techniques. During the early Renaissance, painted furniture was sometimes referred to as “Illusionist” furniture, as were the painted ceilings and walls of the homes.
This pair you see here has a shaped upper portion outlined in C-and S-Scroll acanthus leaves. In the center, is a Coat of Arms with four sections: a double headed eagle, rampant lion, forcene horse, and crossed keys. The double headed eagle symbolizes conjoined forces, and the rampant lion represents of majesty, strength, and deathless courage. The crossed keys can symbolize guardianship, dominion, and the Keys of St. Peter, while the forcene horse shows controlled power. At the center of the cartouche is a smaller shield with an Eagle having flared wings at the top and two white and red colored sections. The lower facade of the benches are painted with large stylized shells and scrolling rinceau.
Period Renaissance casspanca are extremely rare, and even more recent creations are hard to come by. This rare pair of fabulous Italian armorial cassapanca are 20th century creations using salvaged wood. They have been finished in a perfectly distressed light green blue, along with different shades of ochres, and yellows. They can be placed facing each other in a hallway, 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.
CONDITION: Good strong condition with chips to paint throughout both benches. Scratches, and abrasions.