The cameo and Classical Antiquity

You know for sure Cameo Jewelry is our specialty since 1934 so we like to go in depth in this matter.

What many people do not know is that the cameo, intended as a work of art at 360 degrees, as well as being linked to the stories of aristocratic families, as a portrait commissioned to immortalize the faces of the beloved, ancestor of modern photographs, is closely linked to classical antiquity and, more precisely, to mythology

Most of Mythological Cameos are antique!

We are talking about that matter, ever so fascinating, which lends itself well to figurative reproduction, especially for those myths that are known by everyone, recognizable visibly in precise images and coded scenes.

Those codes that are adapted to be reproduced even in a small space, in a small work of the engraving art: the cameo.
I have the pleasure to talk to you briefly, on this occasion, about some myths depicted in the cameos, which you can find in our shop. Some are very well known, others less so.

The myth of Medusa and Caravaggio on a Cameo

Let's start with the myth of Medusa: she was a beautiful girl, transformed by the goddess Athena, out of jealousy, into an ugly creature with a head covered in snakes. Medusa was able to petrify anyone who crossed her gaze. Only a hero, Perseus, succeeded in the task of killing her, beheading her, and then giving her head to Athena, who placed it in the center of her shield, so that, having the gaze preserved the evil power, it petrified all the enemies.

Caravaggio, in 1598, created, for the duke Ferdinando I de Medici, a parade shield that depicts this myth and which is now jealously kept at the Uffizi Museum in Florence (actually there is another version of a private collection).

 Love and Psyche: instinct and reason

Another myth, very well known, is that of Love and Psyche.

Psyche was a beautiful girl who, again because of jealousy, this time by the goddess of beauty, Aphrodite, was forced to fall madly in love with Aphrodite’s son, Eros, and then had to move away, due to the most human of faults, curiosity itself.

Venus, the goddess of beauty and the Three Graces

In addition to the birth of Venus, which is said to come out of a shell emerged from the sea (the pictorial representation of Botticelli is very famous), we often find the Three Graces reproduced in the cameos.

The three graces are deities daughters of Zeus, linked to the cult of nature and the joy of living, which they infuse on Gods and mortals, and represent Splendor, Joy and Prosperity. This cameo contains within itself all that is auspicious and the eternal diatribe between reason and sentiment.

The myth of Trittolemo: the man who brought agriculture to men

We come to a less famous story, that of the myth of Trittolemo, whose effigy is reproduced in one of the most beautiful cameos of our collection.
This is the Greek myth of a man, who received as a gift from the Gods the task of teaching humans the art of agriculture; he is depicted on a chariot drawn by winged dragons, bearing in one hand ears of wheat, in the other, the scythe.

Venice: Neptune offering the treasures of the sea to the lagoon city

A special mention deserves the subject depicted in the cameo "Venice", our exclusivity, which refers not properly to a myth, but to an allegorical representation painted by G. B. Tiepolo. Here Neptune, god of the Sea, bestows gifts to a beautiful woman, symbol of the lagoon city, to remember the indissoluble and eternal union between the Serenissima and the element that surrounds it.
Venice, in fact, is the name we gave to our cameo, which represents a feminine face, loosely based on that of the aforementioned painting.

For these reasons that I have illustrated, but also others, who is about to buy a cameo from the mythological subject, can be sure to get hold of a small work of art and a piece of history, to always carry and transmit to their descendants. Beautiful, right?

If you like our articles, I invite you to download our book on cameos, for free, that Marco wrote with such passion.

I leave you as usual with our trademark ... the biggest hug in the world

Marika Furlanetto

If you loved this Post maybe these ones could be interesting for you