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Hercules Cameo: late 16th c.; Mount: early 17th c.

RCIN 65880

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Cameo with a bearded bust of the warrior and hero, Hercules, in profile to the right. He wears the lion skin over his head like a helmet. A tunic with two ornate brooches is draped over his shoulders. The image is in high relief and deeply undercut. The lighter layers of the stone are used to highlight the profile of the head, the curls of the hair and beard. The anatomy of the face and neck are delicately modelled from the varying colours within the different stone layers. The stone is chipped in the lower left corner. This is a most accomplished work in which the variations of colour within the stone are exploited to enhance the modelling of the high-relief cameo. The technique recalls the finest Milanese work of the 16th century. Text adapted from Ancient and Modern Gems and Jewels in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, London, 2008