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Sardonyx cameo portrait of the Emperor Augustus

Period:
Early Imperial, Claudian
Date:
ca. A.D. 41–54
Culture:
Roman
Medium:
Sardonyx
Dimensions:
H. 1 7/16 in. (3.7 cm)
Classification:
Gems
Credit Line:
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1942
Accession Number:
42.11.30
  • Description

    The cameo depicts Augustus as a triumphant demigod wearing the aegis, a cape usually associated with Jupiter and Minerva. Here, it is decorated with the head of a wind god, perhaps intended as a personification of the summer winds that brought the corn fleet from Egypt to Rome and so an oblique reference to Augustus’s annexation of Egypt after the defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at Actium in 31 B.C.

  • Provenance

    Ex-collection, Earl of Arundel (1585-1646); by 1870, collection of the Duke of Marborough; by 1900, collection of Sir Arthur Evans; acquired December 3, 1941, purchased from the estate of Sir Arthur Evans through his agent Mr. Jacob Hirsch, New York.

  • References

    Story-Maskelyne Collection. 1870. The Marlborough Gems; being a collection of works in cameo and intaglio, formed by George, third duke of Marlborough. London: Printed for Private Distribution, no. 481, p. 80.

    Fürtwangler, Adolf. 1900. Die antiken Gemmen: Geschichte der Steinschneidekunst im klassischen Altertum. Leipzig, Berlin: Giesecke & Devrient, pl. LXV, 49.

    1904. Exhibition of Ancient Greek Art London: Burlington Fine Arts Club, M137, pl. CXII.

    Evans, Arthur J. 1938. An Illustrative Selection of Greek and Greco-Roman Gems to which is Added a Minoan and Proto-Hellenic Series. Oxford: Oxford University Press, no. 140 .

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1942. "Multum in Parvo: An Exhibition of Newly Acquired Engraved Ancient Gems." American Journal of Archaeology, : pp. 488-9, fig. 1.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1942. Ancient Gems from the Evans and Beatty Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 52.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1948. Roman Portraits, 2nd edn. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1949. "Glyptic Portraits of the late Republic and early Empire in the Metropolitan Museon." Hommages à Joseph Bidez et à Franz Cumont. Brussels: Latomus, revue d'études latines, p. 299, pl. XXII, 10.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1956[1920]. Catalogue of Engraved Gems of the Classical Style: Greek Etruscan, and Roman. Rome: L'Erma di Bretschneider, no. 648, p. 130, pl. 73.

    Vollenweider, Marie-Louise. 1966. Die Steinschneidekunst und ihre Künstler in spätrepublikanischer und augusteischer Zeit. Baden-Baden: Grimm, pp. 67, n. 10, 68, n. 17, 79, n. 78, pl. 72.3.

    Hafner, G. 1969. "Der Adlerkameo und die Auffindung des Telephos." Aachener Kunstblätter, : pp. 215-217, fig. 7.

    Kyrieleis, Helmut. 1971. "Der Kameo Gonzaga." Bonner Jahrbücher des Rheinisehen Landesmuseum in Bonn, 171: p. 169-170, fig. 6.

    Giard, Jean-Baptiste. 1978. "L'illusion du portrait." Bulletin de la Bibliothèque Nationale, 3 (1): pp. 30, 32, fig. 5.

    Zwierlein-Diehl, Erika. 1980. "Der Divus-Augustus-Kameo in Köln." Kölner Jahrbuch Für Vor-und-Frühgeschichte, 17: p. 30.

    Bastien, Pierre. 1980. "Egide, Gorgonéion et Buste Impérial dans le Monnayage Romain." Numismatica e Antichità Classiche, 9: p. 254.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1987. Greece and Rome. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 71, pp. 11, 98.

    Thomas, Renate. 1995. "Hellenistische Wurzeln Romischer Herrscherikonographie." Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, 110: p. 369, Abb. 2, pg. 402, no. 8, -1.

    Milleker, Elizabeth J. 2000. The Year One: Art of the Ancient World East and West, Elizabeth J. Milleker, ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 47, pp. 59-61, 206.

    Antikensammlung, Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. 2002. Die Griechische Klassik: Idee oder Wirklichkeit. Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, no. 506, pp. 646-47.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 2006[1920]. Catalogue of Engraved Gems of the Classical Style: Greek Etruscan, and Roman, 2nd edn. Rome: L'Erma di Bretschneider, no. 648, p. 130, pl. 73, color pl. 20.

    Zwierlein-Diehl, Erika. 2007. Antike Gemmen und ihr Nachleben. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co, p. 436, fig. 622 .

    Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 384, pp. 333, 481-82.

    Draper, James David. 2008. "Cameo Appearances." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 65(4): p. 14, fig. 18.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 79.

    La Rocca, Eugenio. 2013. Augusto. Milan: Electa, IV.1.7, pp. 216-17.

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