Beautiful Cameo of Venus and Mars
  • Material: Cornelian Shell,  9 k gold tested.
  • Size: 2 1/8" by just under 1 6/8", only cameo is 2" by 1 5/8", bale is excluded from the previous sizes and is 5/8".
  • Date and Origin: Circa 1870 Italy, frame could be English.
  • Conditions: A very slight and short natural lines in the shell, line is visible when cameo is backlit, not visible from the front by naked eye.  A few slight lines on the front close to the Venus' head probably occurred when the cameo was mounted, not visible by naked eye. Mentioned for accuracy.
More than Excellent quality cameo depicting Venus and Mars portrayed in profile and companied by the genius of light. A very fine carving for a subject which is not too easy to find because it was not a very popular subject. I have had only another one cameo depicting this subject, it was a Museum Quality one, I have noted instead that this subject is easier to find if one searches for poorly or rough carved cameos. This cameo, in my opinion, shows two qualities of carving, Mars and the genius of light are Museum quality, Venus instead is an excellent quality, I can't know why. There a lot of details in this cameo and all are finely carved. look at the helmet of Mars, it is beautifully engraved and decorated, look at his ear, it is perfect, like his neck and his shoulder, you can see even the muscle of his strong neck. Even the Genius of the Light is masterly carved, look at his hand that holds the arrow, look at the decorated torch. This is really  a fantastic cameo wonderfully carved and rare to find in these excellent conditions. A must have for any collector.
A bit of history:
Mars (Latin), son of Juno (Hera in Greek mythology) and Jupiter (Zeus in Greek mythology)  is, according to the Roman classical mythology, the God of war, according to the archaic Roman mythology the God of thunder, of  rain and of  fertility. Initially identified with the etruscan God Maris, God of fertility, of nature, a warlike God and not of the war. Subsequently Mars as the Greek god Ares was assigned to the role of God of war. Mars in the Roman society assumed a more important role of the Greek (Ares) counterpart because he was considered the husband of Rea Silvia and father of Romulus and Remus that founded Rome. Mars was considered the father of the Roman people and the Romans were used to call themselves children of Mars. The month of March, the day Tuesday and the planet Mars due to him their name. Venus (in Latin Venus, in Greek Aphrodite) is the name of the Goddess of  love in Greek and Roman mythology, daughter of Zeus and Dione. From her union with Anchises, Aeneas (the most important hero of the Aeneid) would have been born.  In the mythology, Venus and Mars are usually lovers or fierce enemies, often both the things at the same time. Jung (the philosopher) has described the complexity of the relationship male-female " the power of  love, of  passion that pushes two opposite poles to unite, to a strong resistance that holds them separate it corresponds a vehement attraction that pushes them to unite. Venus and Mars concern the female and masculine aspect of the desire and the sexuality, extraordinarily powerful strengths that appear with the adolescence and extremely powerful in the psyche with Venus that represents the strength of attraction and Mars the assertive strength. Venus tries to attract and, in effects she chooses, Mars that tries to compete and to win. The love among the God of the war Mars and the Goddess of the love Venus was a very dear theme to the painters in Renaissance era that were inspired from these mythological themes.