Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Alexander the Great (?)

ring: mid-16th century; cameo: early Hellenistic 4th century B.C.
probably Italian
Turquoise, enamel, gold
Ring setting, overall: 1 x 1 1/16 in. (2.6 x 2.7 cm); visible cameo (confirmed): 11 x 9.6 mm
Metalwork-Gold and Platinum
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1910
Accession Number:
Not on view
This vibrant carving has previously been described as made of glass and as a product of the French Renaissance, but it is in turquoise, a rarity in cameos of any period. That it is reputed to have been in the Este collections may make an Italian origin likelier. It is not to be ruled out even that the stone is Hellenistic, from as early as the fourth century B.C., but the heroic type of Alexander the Great’s profile was adopted by various Hellenistic successors. In any case, the person who caused it to be set surely thought of it as ancient and as representing Alexander. It is probably a fragment whose broken edges the goldsmith has deftly concealed by forming the bezel as a lion skin, a motif that Alexander borrowed from Hercules.
Related Objects

Bona Sforza (1493–1557), Queen of Poland

Artist: Cameo by Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio (Italian, Parma or Verona ca. 1500/1505–1565 Krakow (?)) Date: ca. 1530–40, and 19th century Medium: Sardonyx, with inlaid gold and silver details; mounted in 19th century as a pendant in gold, with enamel, pearl and ruby Accession: 17.190.869 On view in:Gallery 536


Date: 16th century Medium: Gold, rock crystal, enamel, verre églomisé Accession: 17.190.908 On view in:Gallery 535


Artist: Enamel on reverse after a design by Étienne Delaune (French, Orléans 1518/19–1583 Strasbourg) Date: ca. 1550–60, back 19th century Medium: Chalcedony, mounted in gold with enamel, rubies, emeralds, diamond, and pearl Accession: 17.190.907 On view in:Gallery 544

Pendant in the Form of a Cross

Date: probably late 16th century Medium: Enameled gold Accession: 1982.60.379 On view in:Gallery 540

Ring with the Name of Pope Paul II (r. 1464–71)

Date: 1464–71 Medium: Gilt brass, blue glass Accession: 1989.79 On view in:Gallery 500