This very rare fireplace made in the late 19th century in Statuary marble comes from the surroundings of Genoa, Italy. Entirely carved with extreme finesse, this extraordinary piece is undoubtedly the work of a talented sculptor. Of bucolic inspiration, this mantelpiece is traversed by vines, where the grapes are abundant. Three groups of putti carved in high relief play at old games.
On the left leg, three children play at Blind Man's Bluff, one with his eyes bandaged, while the other two turn around him, dodging him. Having caught one of his playmates, he managed to recognize him by touching his face, while the third one thumbs his nose at him. The testimony of this playing can be found even in ancient Greece.
On the right leg, a putto is on a swing, pushed by the other two.
Finally, on the entablature, a group of six children play at Hot Cockles, also known as the game of Red Hands. In this forgotten game, you have to hit a player's hand, while he keeps it in the back and guess who hit it. A guard is responsible for checking that he does not cheat, holding his head between his knees.
Very well known in the 19th and 19th centuries, this game is part of the "Games and pleasures of childhood" described by Jacques Stella in 1675. His engravings illustrate fifty-two games with naked children similar to those that were skillfully carved on our fireplace.
The creation of this fireplace at the end of the 19th century is part of a time when childhood has become a subject of fascination, evoking not only an age of innocence and genuine joy, but also the state of nature. This is why these games of children, taking place in the vineyards, can allegorically evoke hedonism.
A true unique piece, whose style and quality of sculpture are quite rare and exceptional, this fireplace is a real work of art.
Late 19th century, Italy.
In very good condition. Aged patina. Small antique restorations. Some stains on the marble floor.