- Material: Hardstone, 15 k gold tested, enamel.
- Size: 2" (excluding bail which is 3/8") by 1 6/8" only cameo is 1 1/2" by 1 2/8".
- Date and Origin: Circa 1850 Italy.
- Conditions: Excellent, there is a surface line who runs on the Zeus neck, starting from his beard, through his hair and ends at the right side edge. It does NOT go through the stone. The neck line is visible by naked eye, not visible instead into his hair. The background shows tiny spots into the stone, it is probably from the stone itself. The bale has been probably added later because the cameo was once a bracelet or a belt clasp.
This is a Highest Museum Quality multi layers hard stone cameo depicting Zeus, the King of the Gods, his head crowned by a laurel crown. This subject also reminds some portraits of the Emperor Hadrian, often depicted as Zeus and his wife Sabina as Hera. This one is a cameo of surpassing beauty for the highest quality of the carving and for the colorful stone who makes it very unusual. A very rare cameo even for the frame that is enhanced by enamelled flowers. Look at how the carver used the many colors of the stone to carve the gorgeous subject. The contrast between the dark brown background and the pale pink, the white and the intense pink of the head of Zeus is amazing. His face is so well carved as his beards and his curly hair. His facial features are fierce and majestic, his look is the one of a real King. His curly hair and beard are wonderfully carved and please look at laurel crown the leaves are perfect, just like the real ones. The skill of the carver can be truly seen in this artwork. This really is one of best hardstone cameos depicting Zeus that I have ever seen. Another cameo to not to be missed because rarest, a real collector piece.
A Bit of History:
Zeus in Greek mythology is the king of the gods, the ruler of Mount Olympus, and the god of the sky and thunder. His symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull and the oak. Zeus was the child of Cronus and Rhea, and the youngest of his siblings. In most traditions he was married to Hera, although at the oracle of Dodona his consort was Dione: according to the Iliad
, he is the father of Aphrodite by Dione. He is known for his erotic escapades, including one pederastic relationship with Ganymede. These resulted in many famous offspring, including Athena, Apollo and Artemis, Hermes, Persephone (by Demeter), Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen, Minos, and the Muses (by Mnemosyne); by Hera he is usually said to have fathered Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus. His Roman counterpart was Jupiter.