These consoles with their rich ornamentation and exuberantly sculpted foliage and putti are characteristic of the grandeur of Italian Baroque interiors. Most definitely created for a Palazzo, they were made to conform to their architectural surroundings and clearly blur the line between ecclestical and secular furniture. The voluminous scrolling acanthus foliage, which organically appears from out of the wall, engulfs the putti who are climbing to almost effortlessly hold the massive porphyry top aloft. These sculptural fantasies were most always created by sculptors rather than cabinet-makers and consequentially appear as if they are 'living furniture'. Consequently, the interior that these were originally produced for must have felt like a living breathing mythological garden caught in one moment in time.
Furniture of this type recalls the work of the Venetian sculptors, Andrea Brustolon (1662-1732) and Antonio Corradini (1668-1752), who produced throne chairs, mirrors and torchéres etc. all sculpted of blackamoors, animals, trees and rockwork. However, these consoles particularly resemble a design for a table by Andrea Fantoni of Bergamo displayed here and illustrated in E. Colle, Il Mobile Barocco in Italia, 2000, pp.378-381. Andrea Fantoni (1659-1734), Italian scultore, architect and furniture-maker came from a dynasty of carvers famous for their work in the churches of Bergamo, Parma and the surrounding provinces dating back to the mid-15th Century. At the beginning of his career in the 1670s Fantoni left his family's flourishing workshop to apprentice to such sculptors as Pietro Ramus and the Genoese master Filippo Parodi (1630-1702), a pupil of Bernini, working in Venice. Upon returning to Bergamo, Fantoni's craft displayed evidence of his apprenticeship within Genoese and Venetian circles, where he displayed a particular gift for sculpted wooden furniture.
The similarities between these consoles and the work of Fantoni are numerous and cannot be discounted when forming an attribution. The Fantoni drawing outlines a similar serpentine and bracketed top, and exhibits frolicking putti climbing within voluminous foliage, all within a waisted structure, while he produced other drawings which incorporate classical figures in contraposto supporting the table top. Furthermore, the solid composition of the structural elements of the consoles implies that they were produced to be a permanent part of the architectural surrounding and Fantoni was also an architect.