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Venus & Cupid

In Fine Jewelry > Cameos > Show & Tell and Victorian Era > Show & Tell.
kiwipaul's loves82 of 328Art and Craft Silver BroochTriumph of Wine
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    Posted 4 years ago

    (15 items)

    I simply could not resist this large (2 inches x just under 1.5 inches) Victorian helmet shell cameo. The setting is unmarked (tested) 9K gold, with a T hinge, well curled C clasp & a detachable safety chain. I would guess it dates to the 1870s.

    The original is a topaz intaglio by Luigi Pichler, youngest of the famed Pichler family of gem engravers. It is known in the literature as 'Venus playing with Cupid.' However, I find the mother's expression so stern, I wonder if this one does not belong with others depicting the 'Disarming of Cupid,': Venus taking away the tools she has given her son to inflame passion after he continues to work mischief with them.

    The cameo is extremely faithful to the gem but does differ in a way that must have been meant to accommodate the sensibilities of the day. On the original, Venus is nude right down to her seat; the cameo cutter has given her drapery from the mid-back on down, but made it diaphanous enough that we can still see the outlines of her body. One of the epithets for Venus/Aphrodite is 'callipygous,' meaning having beautiful buttocks. They are on view here.

    There is a signature in cursive letters lightly incised into the back, but I have not been able to decipher it. As is so often the case, the signature looks legible until you try to read it. If ever I work it out, will emend this post. (Possibly T Mochi.)

    The promised emendation: the name of the cutter is J. Mouhé, who worked in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century.

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    1. EDM_KC EDM_KC, 4 years ago
      All I can say is wow! Great piece of artwork you have here! Just georgous!
    2. Spidergirloz, 4 years ago
      What a stunning original piece, l simply love it, a fabulous find, thank-you for letting us enjoy this piece!!!!!!!!
    3. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 4 years ago
      Thank you both. Wish you could see a photo of the original topaz intaglio. Unfortunately I am not at liberty to 'publish' it here. In a way, the cameo is even more complex because the cutter added the suggestion of drapery on her back, with its subtle folds where the intaglio is smooth.
    4. PostCardCollector PostCardCollector, 4 years ago
      Gorgeous piece!!
    5. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 4 years ago
      Thank you, PCC!
    6. Agram.m Agram.m, 4 years ago
      So detailed, georgeous.
    7. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 4 years ago
      Sometimes I get this one out for a minute, just to get a beauty fix!
    8. Ms.CrystalShip Ms.CrystalShip, 4 years ago
      Your cameos are mind- boggling.
      They are superb in every way, so detailed, true
      masters of the craft to generate such beauty and your info is right- on and entertaining!
    9. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 4 years ago
      Think we are drawing Ms.C. into the cameo fanatic's world. :)
    10. Passion4Cameos Passion4Cameos, 3 years ago
      This is a real beauty. No wonder you could not resist!
    11. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 3 years ago
      They seem so alive to me. I can hear Cupid fussing.

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