Rarest Cameo of the Cumaean Sibyl
  • Material: Cornelian shell,  15 k gold tested.
  • Size:  2 5/8" by 2 3/8" only cameo is 2 1/8" by 1 7/8". 
  • Date and Origin: Circa 1850 Italy.
  • Conditions: Immaculate. A few internal shell lines, only visible when cameo is backlit.
Museum quality cameo depicting a rarest subject, never seen before. The carver has perfectly reproduced the painting which the cameo is from. I have owned another cameo depicting the Cumaean Sibyl from a painting of the same artist whose this cameo is from, Domenico Zampieri called the “Domenichino”, he painted two Cumaean Sibyls, one in the 1610’s and the other one in the 1622, the first painted one is the one from which this cameo is from. Look please at the original painting shown below and compare it with the cameo. The carver used the color of the shell to evidence some points creating lovely shades. Her turban is just magnificent, I can dare to say that it is better than in the painting! Rich and full of stunning details, this cameo amazes me and I think that it will have the same effects on anyone who looks at it.  Each details is wonderfully carved, for example I’m amazed by the richness of the details carved on her dress, they really seem to be real. Look at her hands, they are simply perfect. About  her clothes I can say that the carver has really made an artwork, all the folds of her sumptuous dress are so finely made for a three-dimensional effect. Behind her you can see something which could be an urn and a bar from a musical instrument beautifully carved with a head of a Sphynx. You can even see the round relief of her breast over the décolleté. There are a lot of wonderfully carved details in this cameo. You can see them very well through the pictures. Her face is so pretty and magnificently made, she is alive.  Once again the pictures don’t give justice to this rarest and incredible piece.  A rarest subject masterly executed.  The frame is simple and elegant. This subject is amazing, everything is so realistic.   One of a most beautiful cameos I have ever seen. This is another masterly carved cameo. A very desirable collectors piece, rare and museum quality cameo.
A bit of History:
 The ageless Cumaean Sibyl was the priestess presiding over the Apollonian oracle at Cumae, a Greek colony located near Naples, Italy. The word sibyl comes (via Latin) from the ancient Greek word sibylla, meaning prophetess. There were eventually many Sibyls in the ancient world, but because of the importance of the Cumaean Sibyl in the legends of early Rome codified in Virgil's Aeneid VI, she became the most famous among Romans, supplanting the Erythraean Sibyl famed among Greeks. She is one of the four sibyls painted by Raphael at Santa Maria della Pace (see gallery below.) She was also painted by Andrea del Castagno, and in the Sistine Ceiling of Michelangelo her powerful presence overshadows every other Sibyl, even her younger and more beautiful sisters, such as the Delphic Sibyl. The Cumaean Sibyl prophesied by “singing the fates” and writing on oak leaves. These would be arranged inside the entrance of her cave but, if the wind blew and scattered them, she would not help to reassemble the leaves to form the original prophecy again.The Sibyl was a guide to the underworld (Hades), its entry being at the nearby crater of Avernus, This cameo is after a painting from 1610 ca. by Domenico Zampieri called “Domenichino” now in the Borghese Gallery in Rome.