The Cumaean Sibyl
  • Material: Sardonyx Shell, 9 k gold marked.
  •  Size:  2 1/8” by  1 7/8”.
  •  Date and Origin: Circa 1860 Italy.
  • Conditions: A couple of natural shell lines not visible from the front, more visible when cameo is backlit, no stress lines at all. Scratched on the back with the artist's name which is Cosatti  F.
Museum quality cameo depicting a rarest subject, never seen before. The carver has perfectly reproduced the painting which the cameo is from. Look at her hands, they are simply perfect. Each details is wonderfully carved, for example I’m amazed by the ruffled cuff (right arm) it really seems to be real. Speaking of how her clothes are carved I can say that the carver has really made an artwork. 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 1622 ca. by Domenico Zampieri called “Domenichino” now in the Capitoline Gallery in Rome.