Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Madonna and Child

cameo ca. 1500, mount 19th century
French or Franco-Flemish
Sardonyx; mount: silver-gilt, diamonds
Overall (with bail and pendant): 2 5/16 × 1 1/8 in. (5.9 × 2.9 cm); Visible cameo: 26 × 21.2 mm
Lapidary Work-Gems
Credit Line:
The Milton Weil Collection, 1938
Accession Number:
Not on view
The composition, with tenderly interacting figures, is arranged in the manner of early Netherlandish paintings of Madonnas. The Italian Renaissance brought with it a wholehearted embrace of classical antiquity throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Emulation of ancient cameos played a large part. Carvers invested ancient myths with increasingly refined compositions and techniques, paying close attention to the latest archaeological discoveries. Demand for Italian carvers took them to all the courts of Europe. Milan in particular developed a taste for cameos with wondrous atmospheric effects.
Marking: On ring for suspension: An owl, twice (French importation mark since 1893)
Milton Weil (until 1938; to MMA)
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