- Material: Hard stone, 18 k gold marked
- Size: 1 6/8" by 1 3/8". Only cameo is 1 5/8” by 1 2/8”.
- Date and Origin: Circa 1870 probably Germany.
- Conditions: Mint.
Museum quality hard stone cameo depicting Cupid and Psyche after a marble relief by Thorvaldsen made in 1810 now in the Thorvaldsen museum in Copenhagen. Look at the marble relief, shown below, and then look at the cameo, you can see that the carver was able to reproduce the sculptor's work in each details even if in a so smaller space. Pictures really don't give justice to this cameo. Hard stone is a dark blue and the camera can't catch the crispness and the real beauty of the carving. This is a real work of art who depicts real love, an emotional cameo from the work of great artist. Cupid revives his lover Psyche from a sleep induced by a jealous Venus by using his powers of seduction, Psyche was put to a sleep by a magic perfume. This cameo is simply fantastic. It is not easy to find this subject carved on hard stone and especially so finely carved, this cameo must be seen in person in person to appreciate all its beauty. This is another artwork brought here for your pleasure to own or even only admire through my site this moving cameo. A must have for any collector.
A bit of history:
This is the story of Cupid and Psyche, found in the novel, 'Metamorphoses' written by the 2nd century AD novelist and rhetorician, Apuleius. Once upon a time there was a king with three daughters. They were all beautiful, but by far the most beautiful was the youngest, Psyche. She was so beautiful that people began to neglect the worship of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Venus was very jealous, and asked her son Cupid (the boy with the arrows) to make Psyche fall in love with a horrible monster. When he saw how beautiful she was, Cupid dropped the arrow meant for her and pricked himself, and fell in love with her. Despite her great beauty no-one wanted to marry Psyche. Her parents consulted an oracle, and were told that she was destined to marry a monster, and they were to take her to the top of a mountain and leave her there. The west wind took her and wafted her away to a palace, where she was waited on by invisible servants. When night came her new husband visited her, and told her that he would always visit her by night and she must never try to see him. Although her invisible husband was kind and gentle with her, and the invisible servants attended to her every desire, Psyche grew homesick. She persuaded her husband to allow her sisters to visit her. When they saw how she lived they became very jealous and talked Psyche into peeking at her husband, saying that he was a monster who was fattening her up to be eaten and that her only chance of safety was to kill him. Psyche took a lamp and a knife, but when she saw her beautiful husband, Cupid, she was so surprised she dripped some hot wax onto his shoulder, waking him. He took in the situation at a glance and immediately left Psyche and the magnificent palace she had been living in disappeared in a puff of smoke. Psyche roamed about looking for her husband, and eventually in desperation approached his mother, Venus. Still angry, the goddess set various tasks for Psyche, all of which she passed, with a bit of help from ants and river gods. At last Cupid found out what was going on, and he persuaded Jupiter to order Venus to stop her persecution of Psyche. Then they were married and lived happily ever after - and it really was ever after since Psyche was made a goddess.