A spectacular large scale antique Italian terracotta water font after the antique. This detailed font of impressive scale is a museum copy of the original holy water basin in Cathedral of Siena, Italy, by sculptor Antonio Federighi of the Italian renaissance in circa 1517. A further plaster copy resides in the Carnegie of Art, USA, attributed to Lorenzo Di Mariano. This and our copy are the only ones we are aware of to exist.
Dating to circa 1900, this antique water font is of elegant Italian renaissance style, detailed with impressive birds of prey underneath the bowl on a fluted baluster stem. This sits upon a stunning base detailed with characterful cherubs and foliate angels – all incorporating depth and complexity.
This font seamlessly combines elements of renaissance and renaissance-baroque style, while the details bring a sense of realism. It would make a striking central piece for the garden or courtyard of a period or contemporary home, perhaps acting as an outstanding bird bath or as a planter filled with foliage.
This museum copy is after the original holy water basin at the Cathedral of Siena. Italian architect and sculptor of the Renaissance period Antonio Federighi (circa 1420 – 1490) was its maker.
Two holy water basins, sculpted by the Federighi in 1462, are placed next to the first two columns of the church.
The cathedral is a medieval church in Siena, Italy, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary. It is described as one of the finest examples of Italian gothic architecture, due to its large scale and ornate design inside and out.
Lorenzo Di Mariano
Lorenzo Di Mariano was a master builder influenced by classical art and known for dealing with marble. His most famous work was of the Opera De Duomo, as well as the Piccolomini chapel in the basilica of San Francesco. More of his work is scattered throughout the city.
Base diameter – 85cm (33.46 in)
Height from base to underside of the bowl 97cm (38.19 in)
Height of bowl 37cm (14.57 in)
Top bowl width 88.5cm (34.84 in)
Bowl weight 70kg (154.3 in)
Image source: Holy water font in the Cathedral of Siena, by Paolo Lombardi 1827-1890 from Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.