High relief in silver, signed and dated lower left "P. Casali inv. in cera e A. Pieroni esegui L'A. D. S. 1857" (P. Casali created the sculpture in wax and A. Pieroni executed it in 1857).
Influenced by the Tuscan Quattrocento, the Lucca silversmiths Pietro Casali (1819-1857) and Adolfo Pieroni (1823-1875) created a true masterpiece of silversmithing in which the world of Della Robbia and Leonardo's master, Andrea del Verrocchio, can be seen.
It is for the great softness of the face of the Virgin and the extreme finesse of the chasing that we have selected this unique piece in which refinement is omnipresent: the youthful features of the Virgin are magnified by a hair that undulates to the chest, the hands joined in prayer are of great delicacy, the multitude of stripes that constitutes the sky and gives it a moiré effect. Casali and Pieroni, like the Renaissance masters before them, have designed a devotional object that is a work of art.
A spectacular walnut frame was commissioned to house the sculpture but it can be presented on an easel as shown in photo #8.
Paolo Fanfani (19th century) was commissioned to create the frame, a handwritten label which follows: "The frame of the painting of the Madonna of [...] was made by the sculptor Paolo Fanfani, who is in Piazza di Santo Spirito. ...] was made by the goldsmith [...] Casali of Lucca. ".
It is surmounted by an arched pediment in the center of which is housed the dove of the Holy Spirit framed by cherubs' heads, the projecting cornice is carved with motifs of oves and symbols of the four evangelists. The pilasters are decorated with Raphaelesque motifs, and at the base the Latin locution "Ave, Maris stella, Dei Mater Alma". The lower part ends in a drop with a griffin figure in a shield surrounded by scrolls and ribbons.
Dimensions: the high relief 26,5 x 20 cm, the frame 80 x 40 cm.
Pietro Casali, known as Pomarancio (1819-1857), master silversmith in Lucca, is one of the most important personalities of Italian silversmithing in the 19th century. Adolfo Pieroni (1823-1875), his pupil, inherited the workshop of his master in 1857.