Roman cameos often depicted mythical scenes or deities, highlighting particular qualities the wearer hoped to evoke. This cameo features the deities of both love and war, here in harmony. Cameo refers to a method of engraving semiprecious stones in high relief, in contrast with intaglios, which were carved in negative. Romans wore jewellery enriched with cameos both to flaunt their sophisticated tastes and wealth, and to demonstrate their devotion to gods or political forces. Ancient Roman cameos were made mostly of semi-precious stones, such as agate, onyx and sardonyx.
Exquisite White Coral Cameo of Mars and Venus
A finely detailed engraved cameo carved out of white coral, depicting the god Mars and his consort, the goddess Venus. The Roman god of war is depicted wearing a helmet and breastplate, testament to his pugnacity. His bearded visage gazes right, with the goddess of love Venus appearing over his shoulder. Her softly feminine face gazes the same way as her lover, and she wears a diadem. Detailing of facial features is superb, furthermore, the medium of white coral provides soft ivory highlights and mahogany coloured shadows to the composition, providing a delicate cameo scene that could be set into a modern piece of jewellery.
Provenance: Ex SM, Mayfair London collection 1970-99, thence by descent.
Condition: Very fine. A jewellery professional should be consulted if a modern setting of the cameo is desired.
|Dimensions||H 1.3 cm|