This plaquette is a free version of the composition of a gem that once belonged to the Gonzaga in Mantua.
Some of the grandest figures of their respective eras, from Lorenzo the Magnificent to Catherine the Great, were ardent collectors of ancient glyptics. Connoisseurs were well aware of the praise that the writers of antiquity had heaped on specific cameo carvers. Copies initially reached the wider public in the form of bronze replicas and, later, engravings. Inevitably, the rage for cameos entailed a certain amount of forgery and twisting of facts.
Alphonse Kann (until 1927; his sale, American Art Association, New York, January 6–8, 1927, lot 341; sold to MMA)