- Material: Sardonyx Shell, 15k gold tested.
- Size: Just over 2" by just over 1 6/8", only cameo is 1 5/8" by 1 3/8"..
- Date and Origin: Circa 1850 Italy.
- Conditions: a smallest loss on the frame gold cord decoration, not noticeable.
More than Museum Quality cameo depicting the Gorgon Medusa. Even if this subject was very popular in the Victorian era, finding a front face one is very rare and rarest finding one so outstandingly carved. This is a once in a lifetime piece. I have had only once another front face Medusa carved on shell, and this make you understand how rare the front face Medusas cameos are, but this one is really out of this world. Look at the more perfect carving, at the perfection of her facial features and of her hair but more please look at the real alive expression of her suffering face. Her eyes are almost closed, she is frown and you can really feel that she is in pain. Her nose is very thin just like she was inspiring all the air she could and keep it in to try to live more. This cameo gives me a lot of feelings and only a master carver could really give life to a subject and this one is really live. Her face is a perfect oval, her mouth a bit open just to give the impression of life. I’m really breathless looking at this cameo and could not imagine a finest carving than this one. The snakes in her hair and around her neck are impressive. This is the true art, something which gives you lots of emotions. The white carving stands proudly high from the background and perfectly shows all the details which in this cameo are gorgeous. This is more than a work of art which I was very lucky to find.
A bit of History:
Medusa is a character of Greek's mythology, she was one of three Gorgons, the only one that was mortal. Poseidon fell in love with Medusa and one night he took her in a temple consecrated to Athena to consummate their love. Athena offended, transformed Medusa's hair into snakes and again everyone that had looked Medusa's eyes would have been petrified. Medusa was killed by Perseus who cut her head looking at her through a bright shield received from Athena. From Medusa's body came out Pegasus, the mythic winged horse, and Crisaore generated with the union with Poseidon. For this reason Medusa's head was given by Perseus to Athena who put it in the center of her aegis. Aegis used by Athena, is a fringed armour or a shield with Medusa's head in the center.