Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Bust of a Roman Emperor

mid-16th century
Sardonyx and gold
Overall, with frame: 2 1/16 x 1 9/16 in. (5.2 x 3.9 cm); Visible cameo: 48.6 x 35.7 mm
Lapidary Work-Gems
Credit Line:
The Milton Weil Collection, 1938
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 536
The laureate emperor carved from the paler layers of this stone has so far eluded identification. By implication, the man carved from the dark mahogany tones of the reverse, more excitingly executed in extremely low relief, may also be an emperor or perhaps an emperor’s foe. The third-century emperor known as Philip the Arab has been suggested, but for that matter the heads of unknown Africans embellish a sizable number of sixteenthcentury cameos, seldom so stylishly as here.
Marking: None
Milton Weil (until 1938; to MMA)
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