Perseus and Andromeda

 

 

  • Material: Cornelian Shell, 18K gold tested .
  •  Size:  just under 2 6/8" by 2 3/8"
  • Date and Origin: Circa 1850 France, signed on the back by the artist Duprey or Duprevy.
  • Conditions: Mint.

This is a more than Museum quality cameo depicting Perseus and Andromeda.  The exact scene is the one of Perseus who releases Andromeda from her chains on the rock.  A fresco from the Imperial Roman Period (see picture below) now in the Archaeological Museum of Naples, Italy, depicts just this scene. This cameo if after that fresco or after a painting by Anton Raphael Mengs. Perseus and Andromeda. c. 1777 (see picture below) now in The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.  Look how the carver used the shell to evidence the movement of the clothes, the head of Medusa held by Perseus in his hand, all the muscles of his body, they seems just real. The delicacy of this piece is truly amazing.  The shell is perfect, no lines at all. The frame too is an artwork, engraved and superbly worked. This subject really jumps out from the shell, everything is so realistic. The carving is crisp and perfect.  This is with no doubt one of most beautiful cameos I have ever seen, the pictures speak by themselves. This is another masterly carved cameo. A very desirable collectors piece, rare and museum quality cameo.

A bit of History:

Andromeda, the daughter of  the king of Ethiopia, Cepheus, and Cassiopea, who claimed that her daughter was more beautiful than all the Nereids. In jealousy Nereids asked Poseidon to send a monster to waste Cepheus's kingdom. An oracle foretold that the country would be spared if Andromeda, whose beauty was guilty in their mischief, were given to the monster. The people of Ethiopia forced Cepheus to sacrifice his daughter: she was chained to the rock and waited for the monster to be devoured. There Perseus saw her. Perseus was coming back from his expedition against the Gorgons with the head of Medusa in his bag. With the help of that head he turned the monster into stone and freed Andromeda. Then he married her and took with him to Argos.