Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Bust of an African boy

late 16th century
Italian, probably Venice
Sardonyx and gold
Overall: 5/8 x 7/16in. (1.6 x 1.1cm); visible cameo: 15.8 x 13.2 mm
Lapidary Work-Gems
Credit Line:
The Milton Weil Collection, 1938
Accession Number:
Not on view
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: Unmarked
Milton Weil (until 1938; to MMA)
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