- Material: Cornelian Shell, 15k gold tested.
- Size: 2 2/8" by 1 6/8" only cameo is 1 6/8" by 1 3/8".
- Date and Origin: Circa 1860 Italy.
- Conditions:Excellent, there is a tiniest surface chip at 9.00 hours, only visible with a loupe, not visible by naked eye. Dedicated pictures shows it, pictures are strongly enlarged just to show it in fact looking at all the other ones nothing can be seen as the flaw is really invisible. Mentioned for accuracy.
Museum Quality cameo depicting a scene from the Iliad depicting Helen, Paris and Hector. This cameo is after a bas-relief plaster by Thorvaldsen 1809, executed by Georg Christian Freund under the supervision of H.W. Bissen in 1868.
The scene is taken from Homer’s Iliad, Book 6, verses 318- 369. We are in Troy, which is being besieged by the Greeks. The reason for the siege is that Prince Paris has abducted King Menelaos’ beautiful wife Helen. But now Paris is very reluctant to take the consequences of his act and enter the war of which he himself has been the cause. His brother Hector, seen here in full armour, thinks this too bad, and it is precisely to persuade him to take part in the war that Hector here goes to visit Paris and Helen. Look at how the carver respected the original bas-relief in each tiny detail. Also look at the well defined muscles on Paris abdomen, especially look at the last backlit picture, you can see them perfectly and you see that they just look like the abdomen muscles of a person when sitting, that's incredible. This tell us a lot about the skill of the carver! The perfect bodies of the two men are really amazing like the prefect proportions too. This is a real work of art and because this a scene and is carved on a small surface it is even more amazing. A wonderful gold elaborate frame complete the cameo and give to it an outstanding beauty. Even the unusual shape of frame is an added value to this fantastic piece to collect.
A bit of history:
Helen, considered to be the most beautiful woman in the late-bronze-age world, was married to Menelaus, king of Sparta. Her beauty, it is said, was known far and wide. Not bothered by the queen's marital status, Paris (also known as Alexandros, son of Priam, the elderly king of Troy) fell in love with Helen (during a diplomatic mission to Sparta). Wasting little time, Paris abducted her. Menelaus, later in the story, thought he should kill his wife because she had been with a prince of Troy. As he raised his sword to kill her, however, Menelaus stopped himself when he saw Helen’s great beauty. The kidnapping of Helen (if that's what it was) was thussuccessful. As a result, events leading to a war between the Greeks (then called theAchaeans) and the Trojans (the people of Troy) were set in motion.