Literature: Giuseppe Morazzoni, “Il Mobile Veneziano del '700” 1958, pl. CCXLV, illustrating a similar type of mirror. Clelia Alberici, “Mobile Il Veneto”, 1980; p. 272, pl. 417, illustrating a comparable mirror.
An extremely beautiful and very rare Venetian Baroque carved giltwood ceremonial mirror, of rectangular shape, the glass plate within a foliate scrolling moulded surround and surmounted by an elaborate pierced cresting to include a bust of Minerva at the summit wearing a plumed helmet and armour upon on a pedestal placed at the top of a broken balustrade mounted at either side by finials and above a cartouche featuring the semi-nude figure of Diana wearing a crescent moon in her hair, seated within a wooded glade beside a hound and quiver of arrows, holding an arrow in her left hand, the cartouche flanked below by two fretted medallions enclosing the bust of an elegant lady, the whole within elaborate scrolling arabesques to include lambrequins, flowers and fretwork that continues around the frame’s upper sides
Venice, date circa 1740
Height 221 cm, width 140 cm.
This superb mirror relates to a number of highly elaborate Venetian mirrors made throughout the eighteenth century, often heavily carved with allegorical or mythological figures, masks, trophies, arabesques and scrolling foliage, of which perhaps the most accomplished examples can be seen in the throne room at Ca’ Rezzonico, Venice and at Palazzo Mocenico in San Stae. Since the Middle Ages Venice was regarded as a metropolis of glassmaking, whose products were popular and famous throughout Europe and the Middle East. In many respects the intricately pierced triumphal-arched cresting featuring foliate scrolling, female busts along with the mythological figures Minerva (or Pallas Athena) patroness of the arts and learning and goddess of war, along with Diana, goddess of hunting, recalls designs by Daniel Marot (1661-1752), the self-declared architect to William III, formerly William of Orange. Among them are designs for mirror frames (as illustrated in F. Sabatelli, “La Cornice Italiana”, 1992, p. 79, pl. 101) as well as another for a painted ceiling enclosing the monogram of William III of Holland (illustrated in Richard Glazer, “A Manuel of Historic Ornament”, 2012, p. 75, pl. 33) which as here includes an arched cresting above a cartouche enclosing classical female figures seated in a carriage beside a sheep. One can also cite another of Marot’s designs for a chimney piece of circa 1705 which includes the busts of two women, each bearing a close resemblance to the present two female busts.
A French-born Dutch architect, decorative designer, and engraver, Marot’s opulent and elaborate designs significantly contributed to European stylistic decoration during the late seventeenth and early years of the eighteenth centuries. His many engravings provide an excellent record of the fashions of the times, including the European interest in Oriental motifs. Having been trained by his father, Jean Marot, an architect and engraver, Daniel Marot also studied and was influenced by the French designers Jean Lepautre and Jean Berain. His family were Huguenots and part of the wave of émigrés that left France in 1685, the year in which the Edict of Nantes was revoked, thus depriving French Protestants of the religious and civil rights formerly granted to them. They settled in Holland, where Marot entered the service of the Prince of Orange and also worked for private clients. In 1694 he followed the prince, by that time William III of England, to London, returning about 1698 to Holland, where he continued to work for both the princely family and private patrons until his death.