- Material: Sardonyx Shell,.
- Size: 2 18/32" by 2 2/32".
- Date and Origin: Circa 1860 Italy.
- Conditions: Some slight internal natural lines, a slight stress line on the back which I can feel a bit under my fingernail, located on the left side (right side if you look at the cameo from the front), the line does NOT go trough the shell. Lines are visible when cameo is backlit, very very barely visible when cameo is seen from the front.
More than Museum Quality and huge cameo depicting a rarest subject, St. Michael the Archangel slaying the devil, after a painting from 1635 by Guido Reni (4 November 1575 – 18 August 1642) who was a prominent Italian painter of high-Baroque style, the same painter who also was the author of the fresco in Palazzo Rospigliosi in Rome depicting the chariot of Aurora. The painting of St. Michael is now in the Church of Santa Maria della Concezione, in Rome. This cameo is simply incredible. A real work of art from another one, the painting. This cameo is very high relieved especially at the bottom where the devil is slain by the Archangel. This is a point who makes me think that it was intentionally so made, the bad represented by the devil is put in evidence just because, in my opinion, when it is well seen it can be fought better and then it can be won. This is what the carver wanted that the others could see, the bad, so present in our lives, who is slain by the forces of the good. A message of hope that we all need of. The original painting has been fully respected and each detail of it is present in this cameo making it an outstanding work of art. I'm really speechless looking at it. Some black and white pictures have been added to better shown the amazing details of this incredible cameo, even the roman sandals worn by the Archangel are perfectly visible and superbly decorated just like the ones in the painting. St. Michael body is a triumph of force and beauty, look at the tight armour worn by the the Archangel, it is like a second skin and shows all of his muscles, wonderfully rendered. The flowing robe worn by the Archangel is ethereal, the hot air from the flames under his feet, while he slays the devil, flows again his robe and make it flows, look...it is just real. This cameo is something of really out of this world, there are no more adjectives to describe it. Everything is perfect and masterly carved. This is one of most beautiful cameo I have ever seen, the pictures speak by themselves. A very desirable collectors piece, rarest and museum quality cameo.
A bit of history:
Michael is an archangel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He is viewed as the field commander of the Army of God. He is mentioned by name in the Book of Daniel, the Book of Jude and the Book of Revelation. In the book of Daniel, Michael appears as "one of the chief princes" who in Daniel's vision comes to the angel Gabriel's aid in his contest with the angel of Persia (Dobiel), and is also described there as the advocate of Israel and "great prince who stands up for the children of your [Daniel's] people". The name Michael means "One who is like God," as so, the name was said to have been the battle cry of the angels in the war in heaven against Satan and his followers, defying them through the very question of the nature of the Lord that those fallen ones were by themselves led to dismiss.
Much of the late detail about Michael was transmitted to Christianity through the Book of Enoch, whence it was taken up and further elaborated. In late medieval Christianity, Michael, together with Saint George, became the patron saint of chivalry, and of the first chivalric order of France, the Order of Saint Michael of 1469. In the British honours system, a chivalric order founded in 1818 is also named for these two saints, the Order of St Michael and St George. St Michael is also considered in many Christian circles as the patron saint of the warrior. Police officers and soldiers, particularly paratroopers, regard him as their patron. He is also a patron of Germany and of the city of Brussels. Roman Catholics refer to him as Saint Michael the Archangel and also simply as Saint Michael.