воскресенье, 24 февраля 2013 г.


Gonzaga cameo portrait of Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Arsinoe II. An anonymous carver portrayed the deified royal couple at the moment of their 'sacred marriage' – the queen wears a wedding veil and a laurel wreath, and there is a similar wreath on the king's helmet, with a star and a winged dragon. The aegis of Zeus, adorned with the heads of Medusa and Phobos, is thrown over the king's shoulders, over the armour of a military leader. The master thus emphasised the ideal image of the deified king-hero, established under the influence of the personality of Alexander the Great.
 To the left, under a thatched stable roof, sits the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child on her lap; Joseph stands behind her.1700
Cameo portrait of the Emperor Claudius (10 BC-54 AD) with head in profile to the left wearing a laurel wreath tied at the back in a bow with the ribbon ends cascading down the nape of his neck. His corselet has shoulder lappets, each of which is decorated with a scroll and ends in a tassel.The image of Claudius is the largest of the surviving imperial single-portrait cameos. The raised border, cut with a flat top showing the darker layer of the stone, is not uncommon but the carefully cut egg and dart on its outer edge is very rare.
The Great Cameo of France. It's made of five layers of sardonyx, and it was first attested in the inventory of Sainte Chapelle, in Paris, in 1279. The piece itself was created around 20 AD, though we cannot be certain of the date. As it was heavily modified both in ancient and in medieval times, there's a lot of speculation about the characters depicted. The most commonly accepted interpretation today is that the central figure is Emperor Tiberius, accompanied by his mother Livia and his designated heir at the time, Nero Drusus.
Gemma Augustea The central figure, on the throne, is generally accepted as being Augustus. He is represented as a god, and we know that Augustus was not deified during his life; so this work was either commissioned after this death, or by him, as a work of propaganda to be sent as a gift to a ruler from the Eastern provinces (deification was not ok within the Italic peninsula; in other parts of the Empire, Augustus and his heirs had no problem presenting themselves as living gods).
This true museum quality masterpiece, carved in very high-relief, depicts the God of War Mars. ca1800
Cameo portrait of Augustus carved from a three-layered sardonyx, Roman about AD14-20 via The British Museum. The Blacas Cameo, cut in three layers of sardonyx, shows another majestic image of Augustus, and was probably part of the larger piece. As in all such works, the headband was added later, as it was a symbol of Hellenistic royalty – and Augustus himself would not have made such a mistake in his days.
Cameo of Messalina. There's also a well-known cameo featuring Messalina, one of the many poor choices made by Emperor Claudius in marriage. The two children are, of course, Octavia and Britannicus, to underline Messalina's image as mother of the future emperor. Not only she didn't make it that far, but both children were assassinated by Nero (being part of the royal family was tons of fun, but also very dangerous).
Cameo with jugate heads of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, in profile to the left, with the Queen in front. Silver-gilt frame set with four diamonds and half-pearls, surmounted by a silver crown with diamonds, rubies and red translucent enamel. Cameo signed to the right of the Queen’s head: RONCA (for James Ronca, 1826-1910); engraved on the reverse: 1879. The badge incorporates one of two shell cameos supplied by Ronca in 1879 and is from the third class of the Order. It was probably presented to either Charlotte, Duchess of Buccleuch (d. 1895), or Frances, Duchess of Marlborough (d. 1899), who were appointed to the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert in 1879 and 1880 respectively. Both duchesses predeceased the end of the Order, which may explain how the badge was returned to the collection. Cameo signed to the right of the Queen's head: RONCA; engraved on the reverse: 1879 Text adapted from Ancient and Modern Gems and Jewels in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, London, 2008
Cameo with a laureate head of Julius Caesar (100-44 BC), clean-shaven and with short curled hair, in profile to the right. The ground of the agate is highly polished. The very precise treatment of the facial features suggests a date in the first half of the 18th century. Text adapted from Ancient and Modern Gems and Jewels in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, London, 2008
The Roman gem-engraver Benedetto Pistrucci (1783-1855) arrived in London in 1815. Shortly afterwards he cut a cameo of St. George, naked ‘in the Greek style’ used by George John, 2nd Earl Spencer, for his Garter insignia. In 1817 Pistrucci succeeded Thomas Wyon as Chief Medallist of the Royal Mint and in the same year one of his images of St. George was used for the new gold sovereign. The same image was frequently repeated in his coins for the Royal Mint. This Lesser George was presented by William IV to his nephew Prince George of Hanover, later King George V of Hanover (1819-78), in 1835. It was acquired after his death by the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII. Cameo signed below the dragon PISTRUCCI; mount struck with London hallmarks for 1835-6 and maker's mark WC for William Clutton. Text adapted from Ancient and Modern Gems and Jewels in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, London, 2008
A brooch, with thirteen onyx cameos, with a basic cross shape with surrounding cluster; early 19th century (attached to a later brooch mount with hook for a pendant drop). The thirteen cameos show: Two female figures, in long dresses. The figure facing the right is holding an object which she is offering to the woman walking towards her. Seated male nude facing right, possibly Dionysus, approached by a satyr blowing a horn. Male nude running to the right towards a bonfire. The figure is bearded and has a drape wrapped around his waist. He extends his left hand towards the fire. This could be a depiction of Mucius Scaevola as he burns his hand in front of the Etruscan enemy, Porsenna, though traditionally he is depicted burning his right hand. The legend of Mucius Scaevola, like that of Horatius Cocles, was popular during the Renaissance as an example of courage, endurance and civic duty. Male nude, facing right, making a sacrifice at an altar. Orpheus, nude, facing left with his foot resting on a rock, playing his lyre. To his right a small animal crouches beneath a tree. Female musician, wearing a chiton with her right breast exposed, holding a viol in her right hand and the bow in her left. The Adoration of the Magi: the Holy Family beneath a temple structure is shown with Joseph standing in the background and the Virgin and the Christ Child seated in the foreground, all facing right. Before them, one of the Magi kneels with his offering, as the other two look on. At the top shines the star of Bethlehem. Male musician, wearing a tunic, holding a viol in his left hand and the bow in his right. Cupid, walking to the right, reading from a scroll. Cupid, walking to the left, carrying a vessel (both legs deficient). Cupid, facing left, teasing a bird (left leg and arms deficient). Cupid, walking to the left. Left leg and right arm deficient. Kneeling male nude, facing right, offering an object to a seated male wearing a tunic, possibly a slave serving his master. The brooch is part of a parure - an interchangeable set of jewellery. Parures became fashionable in the 19th century. The ladies attending Princess Charlotte, on her marriage in 1816, wore matching sets of amethysts, chrysolites and topazes given by the Prince Regent. Empress Joséphine and her court were the first to embrace the fashion of Greek dress and cameo jewellery. Ancient, Renaissance and modern Roman copies of engraved gems were set in magnificent parures. By the 1850s the jewellers Castellani and Giuliano from Rome had revived the interest in Archaeological styles in jewellery and gem cutting. Earlier, in England Queen Charlotte is also known to have had a collection of cameo-set jewellery, including a parure with a bandeau of five large and eight small cameos. Text adapted from Ancient and Modern Gems and Jewels in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, London, 2008
Bust of Zeus, mythological Greek king of the gods, facing to the right and wearing the aegis (Zeus aigiochos). The scaly feathered protective aegis lies over the dress, which shows at the right shoulder and on the chest. It is fastened round the neck by two scaly thongs and fringed with tiny snakes. At the bottom right break, where the stone is cut back to the white, the edge of the hair of a gorgoneion becomes visible. The nose is considerably undercut, the back of the cameo is rough and slightly convex. About two thirds of the oval cameo is missing but this fragment remains one of the finest surviving Hellenistic cameos. The brilliant naturalism of the curling hair and beard, even the bristling scales of the aegis, contrast strongly with the drier, more linear treatment of features on imperial cameos. In comparison this florid treatment suggests that the cameo is still a product of the Hellenistic period, second-first centuries BC. The aegis draped mainly over one shoulder is a type adopted in the Hellenistic period and continued on Roman figures.
Cameo with a bust of the warrior and hero, Hercules, cut in the round. He is bearded and looking over his right shoulder. The lion skin covers his head and is draped over his shoulders. Similar small-scale busts were made by Milanese craftsmen in the grand ducal workshops of Florence to decorate cabinets and other pieces of furniture. The metal socle resembles those used as mounts for the Florentine examples. The ‘heroic’ Hercules representations possibly refer to Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici (r. 1537-74). Hercules was the symbol of the city of Florence and it is well known that Cosimo likened himself to the hero.
Cameo of a bust of Elizabeth I (1533-1603) in three-quarter view with her head in profile to the left. She wears an elaborate low-cut gown with square neckline and a high lace ruff. A double-looped chain and pendant hangs around her neck. The raised border is bevelled to reveal the layers of the stone. Extensive studies of the Tudor portrait cameos, in particular those representing Elizabeth I, have identified overwhelming numbers, leading to the assumption of a special form of large organized court workshop. The cameos vary in size, this being one of a group of six with the largest dimensions, all of which are of superb quality. The others are in the Cabinet des Médailles, Paris, the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the Devonshire collection, Chatsworth House and the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.Cameo c. 1575-85. 
 Royal Collection © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

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