These utterly captivating, hand-carved stone lions hail from Italy and date to circa 1600, possibly even earlier. Their regal couchant (lying down) posture adds an air of majestic charm to any setting. One lion gracefully rests its forepaws on a stone ball, while the other clutches a coat of arms shield. They are carved in the same stylistic manner as many of the medieval lions that were created between the 12th and 17th centuries. They show similarities to the lions outside the Duomo in Parma, Emilia Romagna, Italy amongst other examples throughout Western Europe. Realism in the sculpture of lions didn’t take hold until the 18th and 19th centuries. Before this period, artists had not the opportunity to view real lions, nor were they concerned with realistic interpretations. Extirpated from Europe hundreds of years earlier, the only lions now seen on the continent were brought in as gifts and trophies for the wealthy and powerful. Artists had to rely on images of lions often only found in bestiaries, which were manuscripts that collected descriptions of animals. Therefore we see a wide range of interesting looking lions, carved from marbles, stones, painted on canvas, etc. Some examples were shown grimacing with human like facial features, others looked more like dogs.
The example seen here is a beautiful pair of cream-colored stone lions with white accents and an alluring darkened patina in select areas. Lions sculptures of the 1600’s and preceding centuries are quite rare. Today, they are the perfect collectors items while at the same time making for wonderful decorative accent pieces. These period pieces from Italy will undeniably infuse your space with a timeless aura of sophistication and grandeur.
CONDITION: Good and strong antique condition with fleabites and minor rubs. The lions were hand-carved, so there are inherent variances in the dimensions, although the discrepancies of the lengths (depths) of the lions are more pronounced.