Written by Kiani Ned, Marketing Intern
In the Italian Garden at The Cummer Museum, one can spot an array of magnificent sculptures and ornaments nuzzled in with the beautiful flowers. The centerpiece of the garden is undoubtedly the Italian Fountain. The fountain is a lovely warm color and features carvings of flora and even the head of a lion. This lion motif is very common in Italian garden sculpture and is repeated throughout the garden. It has been beautifully reproduced on the Twin Lion Arm Chairs that flank the entrance to the Italian garden.
The Twin Lion Arm Chairs are a soft pinkish color which softens the intensity of the carvings on the base of the chairs. The chair is low to the ground, has a base that is decorated with intertwining vines, and of course, the head of a stylized yet ferocious lion’s head. The ancient Romans had a fascination with wild animals–their ferocity, their mannerisms, and their natural beauty. This fascination is clearly seen in traditional Italian gardening–many sculptural aspects in Italian gardens include imagery of wild beasts. Particularly, the symbol of the lion is an ode to St. Mark, who is the patron saint of Venice.
The chairs are very majestic and invoke a feeling that one is entering into the presence of royalty. The Italian garden itself reiterates this with its towering shrubbery and perfectly placed roses, zinnias, and lilies. While the garden’s layout is very particular, it is anything but stuffy. The added element of water as seen in the reflecting pool and in the Italian fountain itself, allows the garden to become a sanctuary in which all things are in their proper place.