Silver in Padua

“An artisanal tradition of enormous historic importance, a craft that has been unequalled for centuries”

By Unioncamere

LaboratoriOriginal Source: Camera di Commercio di Padova

Silver has been worked in Padua since the middle of the seventh century A.D. 

In Padua in the late Medieval period the presence of the Basilica of S. Antonio stimulated the development of a school of artisan silversmiths of unparalleled skill, capable of producing masterpieces such as the reliquary that contains Saint Anthony’s chin: a splendid specimen made from molten silver that has been embossed, chased, perforated and gilded. 

Laboratorio, Original Source: Camera di Commercio di Padova
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Two driving forces of the Venetian Baroque silversmith culture emerged with the flourishing of the Baroque style In the eighteenth century: Angelo Scarabello and Sante Benato. In the nineteenth century the art of silversmithery adopted the neo-classical style and subsequently specialised in more eclectic tastes.

Posateria, Original Source: Camera di Commercio di Padova
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From the 1950s onwards many companies moved towards production at an industrial level, without losing the traditional touch of the products and their artisanal attention to detail. During the years of the economic boom, silversmith production in Padua underwent a period of considerable development, which is still taking its course today

LavprazioneOriginal Source: Camera di Commercio di Padova

As early as the fourteenth century, the master silversmiths of Padua adopted characteristic operating methods. They used to layer small figures and ornate elements in series, which they would arrange rhythmically on the outer surfaces of the object. 

In fact, in that era they did not usually emboss the decorations directly onto the supporting sheet since they preferred applied motifs to openwork. 

SculturaOriginal Source: Camera di Commercio di Padova

In the fifteenth century the technique changed from translucent enamel to niello. During the same period the masters based in Padua introduced…

techniques using a chisel…

BroccaOriginal Source: Camera di Commercio di Padova

...and repoussage.

Forchette, Original Source: Camera di Commercio di Padova
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Padua, and the central zone of its province in particular, is the traditional centre of silversmith craftsmen in the area. 45% of the national production of silver is concentrated within the triangle formed by Padua, Vicenza and Treviso.

Credits: Story

Curator—Camera di Commercio di Padova

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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