Allegory of the Night
  • Material: Sardonyx Shell, 18 k gold tested.
  • Size: 2 1/8" by 1 6/8 "  only cameo is 1 7/8 " by 1 4/8 ".
  • Date and Origin: Circa 1850 Italy. Scratched on the back by the carver "C. Civilotti"  (the first "C" stays for Carlo) who was a contemporary carver to the Saulinis. He had his studio in Rome, Piazza di Spagna, 95.
  • Conditions: Excellent, a few very slight natural internal lines, NO STRESS, only visible when cameo is backlit, not visible from the front or the back when looking at it by naked eye.
Museum Quality cameo depicting the Allegory of the Night. This cameo makes me speechless for the delicacy and the beauty of the carving which is so crisp and fine. The Goddess face is wonderful, her nose, her lips and her chin so perfectly made. Her face is three-dimensional, look how her cheek comes out roundly from the background, her perfect closed eye and all her face expression give the sensation of peace. She's sweetest. Her symbols are all shown, the moon, the star, the poppies flowers on her head. Her veil is so wonderfully carved that just seems transparent. This cameo is pure beauty. The carver also used the color of the shell to give a bit of color to one of the poppy flowers. Looking at her I can really see as she was sleeping because her face expression is so real. A sense of peace and tranquillity comes out from this wonderful cameo, it can be felt immediately when you look at it.  Her cheek has a bit of rose color just like it was skin. A magnificent but simple chiselled frame completes this artwork. I have own only a few cameos depicting this subject and honestly have to say that this one is one of the best I have ever had.  A true artwork to collect. 
A bit of History:
Selene, Goddess of the Moon, daughter of Hyperion. her assignment is to bring the moonlight to the humans driving a cart drawn from oxen or from horses that runs after the solar one, in many representations. Generally described like a beautiful woman with pale face that wears long, flowing, white or silver robe and that has on her head a waxing moon and a torch in her hand. In the Greek-Roman mythology tradition the Moon, thanks to the mutability of its aspect that makes it unique between the stars, has been associated to three divinity and tied to three its "events". Full moon, New moon and Waxing moon. Life metaphor (full moon), death (new moon) rebirth (waxing moon). Since time immemorial these three lunar figures have represented the cycle of  life involving apparently heterogeneous phenomena  like the birth, the death, the fertility, the femininity, the immortality. Selene, (from Selas - Greek) means splendour.