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Northern Italy

The Adoration of the Magi Cameo: 16th c.; Mount: c. 1700

RCIN 65175

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Technically this cameo is a masterpiece of virtuoso carving. The layers of the stone have been exploited with the greatest care: the head of one of the Magi is cut in the dark layer, whereas the star above is yellowish white and almost free-standing. A sense of space and perspective has been created as the camel’s head and neck - which are light coloured - fade into the darker layer, behind the group of pages. The procession of the figures, their animation and the different colours used for the coats of the Magi all give a sense of movement.