Medusa head

Cameo
1770-1800 (made)
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Sculpture, Room 111, The Gilbert Bayes Gallery
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The art of engraving gemstones has been admired since the early days of the Roman empire. It was revived in Europe during the Renaissance, and again in the 18th and 19th centuries. Cameos and intaglios were prized and collected, sometimes as symbols of power and mounted in jewelled settings, sometimes as small objects for private devotion or enjoyment. When this cameo was acquired by the Museum in 1937 it was assumed to date from the 1st century BC. In fact it was made in the late 18th century, when there was a widespread revival of ancient Greek and Roman art. The engraver shaped the stone to resemble an archaeological fragment and gave the face a deliberately antique profile.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Layered agate, in gold setting
Brief Description
Medusa head, cameo, probably Italy, ca. 1770-1800
Physical Description
Medusa, agate
Object history
Bequeathed by Mr C.H Shannon, R.A.
Subject depicted
Summary
The art of engraving gemstones has been admired since the early days of the Roman empire. It was revived in Europe during the Renaissance, and again in the 18th and 19th centuries. Cameos and intaglios were prized and collected, sometimes as symbols of power and mounted in jewelled settings, sometimes as small objects for private devotion or enjoyment. When this cameo was acquired by the Museum in 1937 it was assumed to date from the 1st century BC. In fact it was made in the late 18th century, when there was a widespread revival of ancient Greek and Roman art. The engraver shaped the stone to resemble an archaeological fragment and gave the face a deliberately antique profile.
Collection
Accession Number
A.112-1937

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record createdApril 14, 2005
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