Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Sardonyx cameo fragment with Jupiter astride an eagle

Period:
Hellenistic or Early Imperial
Date:
1st century B.C.–1st century A.D.
Culture:
Greek or Roman
Medium:
Sardonyx
Dimensions:
H.: 1 3/8 x 1 3/16 in. (3.4 x 3 cm)
Classification:
Gems
Credit Line:
Gift of Milton Weil, 1932
Accession Number:
32.142.2
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 166
Despite its fragmentary condition this cameo still displays the fine quality of its workmanship. The eagle's feathers and Jupiter's torso and bearded face are carved in exquisite detail against an almost transparent background. The imagery of the Father of the Gods flying through the heavens astride an eagle was adapted for use in Roman official art to depict scenes of apotheosis. This was the procedure by which emperors were deified; their ascent up to heaven was marked at the state funeral by the release of an eagle that symbolically carried the spirit of the deceased emperor up to the heavens.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1956[1920]. Catalogue of Engraved Gems of the Classical Style: Greek Etruscan, and Roman. no. 604, pp. 121-22, pl. 66, Rome: L'Erma di Bretschneider.

Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneliese, Brigitte Servais-Soyez, Fulvio Canciani, Giovannangelo Camporeale, Hans Peter Isler, Ingrid Krauskopf, Odette Touchefeu-Meynier, Marcel Le Glay, and Dr. Jean-Charles Balty. 1997. Thespiades-Zodiacus, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. 8. Zeus, no. 409, Zürich: Artemis Verlag Zurich und Munchen.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 2006[1920]. Catalogue of Engraved Gems of the Classical Style: Greek Etruscan, and Roman, 2nd edn. no. 604, pp. 121-22, pl. 66, Rome: L'Erma di Bretschneider.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 418, pp. 362, 487, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Draper, James David. 2008. "Cameo Appearances." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 65(4): pp. 3, 12, fig. 12.

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