The backrest is straight with a slightly curved top. On the armrests are resting two ladies in masterfully carved period clothing. The armrests are supported by two vestals, also beautifully carved in the round. The legs are turned and chiselled, with central support also round and chiselled, supporting a decorative element on either side of the legs with volutes and a central lily. The beautiful green and pale-yellow fabric with floral motifs from a later period are in excellent condition.
Valentino Panciera Besarèl
Besarèl is a nickname of popular origin used to distinguish the artist’s “Panciera” family from other homonymous families, but it has come to dominate the surname as well, so that even in the art world it is known simply as “Valentino Besarèl”.
Besarèl was the great heir of Andrea Brustolon in the nineteenth century in wood carving very appreciated in Italy and abroad.
In the figure of Besarél, the legacy of another Belluno master, active in the previous century, Andrea Brustolon (1662-1732), the Michelangelo of wood, according to the happy definition that Honoré de Balzac gave him in the Roman Le Cousin Pons, is fully recognizable. Besarél recovered from his fellow countryman the wooden ornamental primacy, aiming to define sculptures as protagonists as possible even if incorporated within the structure of a piece of furniture.
Trained at the Venetian academy between the early 1950s and 1855, Besarél first engaged the Venetian and Belluno art market and then rose to international fame. The happy skill with which the artist, and before him only Brustolon, knew how to model evocative sculptures both in the sphere of profane and ecclesiastical ornamentation, placed him at the head of a thriving workshop in San Barnaba. Besarèl’s fame allowed him, at an advanced age, to purchase Palazzo Contarini Michiel, formerly Dona, as a residence and a suggestive display case of his sculptural wonders.
Twelve armchairs made by the Besarèl atelier, similar to our pair of armchairs, are in the Palazzo del Quirinale (the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic) in Rome in the Sala del Bronzino. This group of chairs was made in 1888 to furnish a flat set up at the Quirinale to accommodate Kaiser Wilhelm I.
- Catalogue by Massimo de Grassi, Valentino Panciera Besarèl, Verona, 2002) and was the subject of a monograph, Giovanni Angelini, Gli Scultori Panciera Besarèl (Belluno 2002).
- Biasuz G., and Buttignon M.G., 1969. Andrea Brustolon (Istituto Veneto Arti Grafiche) 1969
- Gonzales-Palacios, Alvar, 1967. Il mobilio del ‘700 veneto
- Semenzato, G., 1967. La scultura veneta del Seicento e del Settecento (Turin: Alfieri)
- Valcanover, F., 1960. Indice delle opere d’arte della città e provincia di Belluno (Venice)
- Biasuz, G., and E. Lacchin, 1928. Brustolon, preface by U. Ometti (Venice: Zanetti)