A large Venetian baroque naval lantern, known as a fanò or fanale. These lanterns played an important role in the Venetian Armata (fleet), being mounted on a pole above the stern, which was the command centre of the vessel. This would emit much needed light and signals. Only squadron leaders were permitted to bear a single, grand lantern such as this on their galley; only nobleman were allowed the honour of this position. They lavishly decorated these vessels – which actually belonged to the Venetian Republic – with rich ornamentation such as carved panelling, lanterns and metalwork to indicate familial wealth and prestige. This of course, contributed to the intimidating display of martial valour…
Conforming to the prevailing fashion of the Baroque, this lantern is ornately carved; solomonic columns flank the frame and dolphins dive down in the form of c scrolls, supporting the structure above. One later addition is the pendant knob, which would likely have been added when the lantern was converted to a hanging lantern (probably in the 18th century).
Lanterns were often converted to hang in the androni (entrance halls) of Venetian homes, where other items associated with the families’ naval exploits could displayed to celebrate their naval history.
Remarkably similar lanterns can be seen in Andrea Vicentino monumental painting in the Palazzo Ducale in Venice, depicting The Battle of Lepanto, painted in 1595.
It is highly likely that this lantern was made by the renowned Venetian picture frame makers.
Converted to electricity.
Rare surviving original gilding. Italian, 17th century.
Link to: Antique lanterns
Listed Price: £8,500 ( + vat in EU zone )