- Material: Sardonyx Shell, 15k gold tested.
- Size: 2 2/8” by over 1 6/8.
- Date and Origin: Circa 1850 Italy.
- Conditions: A couple of natural shortest shell lines, barely visible when cameo is backlit. Mentioned for accuracy otherwise IMMACULATE.
This is a rarest highest Museum Quality cameo brooch depicting the Fortuna on her wheel. This is the first time that I see this subject and researches on it have been hard since I knew about the Goddess Fortuna and her wheel but I never saw her depicted on a cameo or wherever else. This cameo is outstandingly carved, surely from a great artist, even if it is not signed, because the abundance of details and the Goddess herself are perfectly made. Her body is sinous, extremely feminine and full of grace and look at how the veil who covers her legs seems flowing in the wind, really exceptionally made. Her face is pretty and her long and curly hair are superbly made. She is sitting on a wheel (the famous wheel of fortune) and spreads arrows points. On the other side the carver wanted to carve something that I can’t see neither on the painting nor on the drawing from which the subject is from, a crown and a sceptre. She’s spreading arrow points just to symbolize that everyone can be randomly hit by one of them and they can bear luck or unluck. This subject is after a painting by an unknown Italian Renaissance painter The composition of painting is based on a drawing in the Uffizi, Florence, formerly attributed to Michelangelo, but now catalogued as by Alessandro Allori. The painting is faithful to the drawing in almost every detail, though the painting has a more fully realized composition, including finished hands and a surrounding border. The artist likely chose to reproduce the Uffizi drawing composition given that it was ascribed to Michelangelo throughout the sixteenth century up until the early twentieth century. Though other painted versions have yet to surface, it seems likely that it would have been a popular composition at the time given its connection to Michelangelo.
A painting which follows the Uffizi drawing, formerly attributed to Michelangelo, was located in the collection of celebrated 19th century opera singer Mario De Candia. Later, that picture was in the Hannerman collection.
A bit of history:
The goddess Fortuna was associated with luck and good fortune. As such, she was revered as the bearer of abundance, and thus was particularly cherished by farmers and mothers and depicted as a fertility deity. Fortuna was often represented bearing a cornucopia as the giver of abundance and a rudder as controller of destinies, or standing on a ball to indicate the uncertainty of fortune. Here, however, she rides upon on a wheel (Rota Fortunae
) which would spin at random and decide a persons luck, an iconographic symbol which gained popularity in medieval times as an allusion to the transient nature of fate.Fortuna
, equivalent to the Greek goddess Tyche) was the goddess of fortune and personification of luck in Roman religion. She might bring good or bad luck: she could be represented as veiled and blind, as in modern depictions of Lady Justice, and came to represent life's capriciousness. She was also a goddess of fate: as Atrox Fortuna
, she claimed the young lives of the princeps Augustus' grandsons Gaius and Lucius, prospective heirs to the Empire.
Her father was said to be Jupiter and like him, she could also be bountiful (Copia
). As Annonaria
she protected grain supplies. June 11 was sacred to her: on June 24 she was given cult at the festival of Fors Fortuna