Aurora with the Genius of Light
  • Material: Sardonyx Shell, 15K gold tested .
  •  Size:  2" by 1 6/8", only cameo is 1 6/8" by 1 1/2".
  • Date and Origin: Circa 1870 Italy, frame  is surely English. Cameo is scratch signed on the back but I can't read the signature.
  • Conditions: Two slightest natural shell lines, only visible when cameo is backlit, a tiniest surface chip on the back, at circa 12:00 hours, both lines and chip are not visible from the front.
This is a Museum quality cameo depicting Aurora with the Genius of Light, the subject is after a bas relief of Bertel Thorvaldsen executed in 1815 and now in the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen. The carving is perfect and crisp in every details, a three dimensional one and very high relieved from the background. Everything is so well rendered and the proportions are perfect. The master carver made a work of art evidencing the movement of the clothes and both figures seem just that are really flying. The beauty of this piece is truly amazing. The frame is made in Etruscan style and is rich of details too, so elegant and is just the right one for this piece. This subject really jumps out from the shell, look at the pictures. The carving is so white that reflects the light so the pictures don't give justice to this stunning cameo, when the shell has a so dark brown background the carving results in a strong white.  This dark color is the best quality of Sardonyx shells, today very hard to find. So the more the carving is white the more the shell quality is high. Once you see this cameo in person you'll find it truly amazing as the carving is crisp and perfect. This is a beautiful cameo, the pictures speak by themselves. Another masterly carved cameo. A very desirable collectors piece, rare and museum quality cameo.
A bit of History:
Aurora is the Latin word for dawn, the goddess of dawn in Roman mythology and Latin poetry. Aurora is comparable to the Greek goddess Eos, though Aurora did not bring with her any resonance of a greater archaic goddess. In ancient Roman mythology Aurora, goddess of the dawn, renews herself every morning and flies across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun, spreading flowers on the earth, companied by Lucifer (Latin word who means light bearer) the torchbearer.