- Material : Sardonyx Shell, 15k gold tested, enamel.
- Size: 2 1/2" by just over 2". only cameo is 2 2/8" by just over 1 6/8".
- Date and Origin: Circa 1860 Italy.
- Conditions: a stress line on the back which I can slightly feel under my fingernail, it does not go to the front, visible when cameo is backlit, barely visible when cameo is seen from the front.
Museum quality cameo depicting a Bacchante. This is not a classic Bacchante, this one was carved in a Renaissance style following the style of Raphael paintings, you can note it looking at her hair and at the leaf which are not the usual grape leafs but ivy ones, again her neck is adorned with a necklace who recalls an Etruscan style one, so popular even in the Renaissance era. This cameo is pure poetry, her facial features are so delicate and pretty, her look is expressive and intense, you can also see her eye pupil well carved which gives her a real human expressive look. Also look at the delicacy of the ribbons from her hair which seem moved by a soft wind. There is like a majestic in her figure which recalls the pride of a queen. When a cameo gives you real sensations and emotions then it just means that it was carved by an artist which was able to transfer his artistic quality into his work. Everything is very realistic and perfectly carved, a cameo of surpassing beauty and very large just to show all the refinement of the amazing subject and carving. A rare subject for the joy of every collector.
A bit of history:
In Greek mythology, maenads (Bacchantes) were the female followers of Dionysus, the most significant members of the Thiasus, the retinue of Dionysus. The maenads were also known as Bacchae or Bacchantes in Roman mythology, after the penchant of the equivalent Roman god, Bacchus, to wear a fox-skin. Their name literally translates as "raving ones". Often the maenads were portrayed as inspired by him into a state of ecstatic frenzy, through a combination of dancing and drunken intoxication. In this state, they would lose all self-control, begin shouting excitedly, engage in uncontrolled sexual behavior, and ritualistically hunt down and tear animals (and sometimes men and children) to pieces, devouring the raw flesh. During these rites, the maenads would dress in fawn skins and carry a thyrsus, a long stick wrapped in ivy or vine leaves and tipped by a cluster of leaves; they would weave ivy-wreaths and fruiting vines around their heads, and often handle or wear snakes.