EARLY BAROQUE ITALIAN SARDONYX BANDED AGATE CAMEO OF JUPITER AND JUNO

The lord of the Classical pantheon stands frontally, a staff in his right hand and his left arm around his wife. He is nude, his modesty ensured by drapery from Juno’s chiton. He looks to his left towards her, his voluminous shaggy hair and beard indicative of his age, his diadem indicative of his deity. The queen of the gods stands in three-quarters profile, her hair pulled back in a tight chignon. She steps toward her husband while holding her skirts in her left hand, returning her husband’s gaze.

 

To either side of the divine couple, Jupiter’s imperial eagle and Juno’s royal peacock share the ground-line.

 

Renaissance artists delighted in mining Roman literature for intriguing imagery and compelling subject-matter. With Jupiter and Juno gazing so intently into one another’s eyes, the latter moving towards her husband as he embraces her, this cameo represents the immensely popular Reconciliation of Jupiter and Juno, at the close of Virgil’s Aeneid (xii.791–842), (19 BC). Celebrating the overarching theme of omnia vincit amor (love conquers all), the theme was the topic of numerous works of art. Compare the panel of Jupiter and Juno in Annibale Carracci’s fresco cycle, Gli amori degli dei (1597–1607), in the Galleria Farnese, Palazzo Farnese, Rome.

 

17th Century

23 x 20 mm (9/10 x 4/5"). 

Intact; several lines appearing as cracks are, in fact, natural to the stone.

 

Ex: Brussels market, 2016

 

#5680

 

Published: 

Antiquarium, Ltd.; Ancient Treasures XIX. (London, 2020) p.53

 

Comparandum:

Galleria Farnese, Palazzo Farnese, Rome.  Carracci’s fresco cycle, Gli amori degli dei (1597–1607),

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