This is a beautiful antique Venetian carved wood, gilt and polychrome blackamoor figural torchere on stand, c. 1890 in date.
The torchere is formed as a young man wearing an elaborate costume decorated in bright polychrome colours with gilded highlights, he is holding a torch with a five light gilded fitting in one hand and tray in the other while standing on the prow of a boat which is raised on a cylindrical faux marble column with gilded fringed drapery.
It is a very beautiful and rather unique example of Venetian art.
In excellent condition having been beautifully cleaned, waxed and rewired in our workshops, please see photos for confirmation.
Dimensions in cm:
Height 207 x Width 57 x Depth 34
Dimensions in inches:
Height 81.5 x Width 22.4 x Depth 13.4
Blackamoor figures (Italian moretto, moretti) are depictions of dark-skinned Africans used in sculpture, jewelry, armorial designs and decorative art.
The blackamoor is typically male, depicted with a head covering, usually a turban, and covered in rich jewels and gold leaf. They are typically enamelled, carved from ebony or painted black to contrast with the bright colors of the embellishments. Depictions may only represent the head, or head and shoulders, facing the viewer in a symmetrical pose.
In decorative sculpture the full body is depicted, either to hold trays as virtual servants or bronze sconces to hold candles or light fixtures. They may be incorporated into small stands, tables, or andirons. They are often portrayed in pairs. Andrea Brustolon (1662–1732) was the most important sculptor of blackamoors. Often these blackamoors are in acrobatic positions that would be impossible to hold for any extended length of time for a real person.
One of the finest examples of a blackamoor in the arts is the Mohr mit Smaragdstufe (“Moor with Emerald Cluster”), in the collection of the Grünes Gewölbe in Dresden, Germany. It was created by Balthasar Permoser in 1724. The statue is richly decorated with jewels and is 63.8 cm (2.09 ft) high.
Fred Wilson an African-American sculptor, displayed an installation at the 2003 Venice Biennale that incorporated blackamoors. Wilson placed wooden blackamoors carrying acetylene torches and fire extinguishers. Wilson noted that such figures are so common in Venice that few people notice them. He said, “They are in hotels everywhere in Venice…which is great, because all of a sudden you see them everywhere. I wanted it to be visible, this whole world which sort of just blew up for me.
Our reference: 09018