Italian or French, Circa 1700, Cameo with the bath of Venus. Photo courtesy Sotheby's
monogrammed: I.R.F.;agate, mounted in a gold brooch; 53 by 37mm., 2 1/16 by 1½in. overall. Estimation 20,000 — 30,000 USD
This exquisitely carved cameo represents Venus bathing, aided by an attendant Cupid. The calm of this idealised scene is, however, broken by the voyeuristic presence of a lascivious satyr and another Bacchic figure. Such a juxtaposition is typical of late 17th- and early 18th-century taste, and, together with the Arcadian setting, places the present carving firmly in the Rococo style. The quality of the carving is particularly refined. The treatment of the trees and the fluid classicising figures find relevant comparisons in the work of the celebrated Florentine hardstone carver to the Medici Grand Ducal Court, Giuseppe Antonio Torricelli (1659-1719). Compare, for example, with his masterful chalcedony cameo with Cosimo III and Tuscany before the Temple of Peace, circa 1710, in the Museo dell'Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence (inv. no. OA 1911:580). The monogram remains unidentified, but is likely to be for a carver with the initials J/G. R., with the F standing for fecit.
RELATED LITERATURE: W. Koeppe, Art of the Royal Court. Treasures in Pietre Dure from the Palaces of Europe, exh. cat. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2008, p. 192, no. 50
Sotheby's. European Sculpture & Works of Art. London | 04 déc. 2013, 11:00 AM - www.sothebys.com