Beatrice Cenci
  • Material:  Sardonyx Shell
  • Date and Origin: Italy circa 1850
  • Frame: Frame is English, marked 15 K
  • Size: over 2  4/8" by 2  1/8"
  • Conditions: Mint.
This is a cameo of surpassing beauty. Museum Quality cameo, the subject of this cameo is from a painting attributed to Guido Reni and depicting Beatrice Cenci, and in this case the carver made an artwork, the three-dimensional carving, the harmonious and realistic movement of the clothes, but overall the carver reproduced the identical features that can be seen in the Guido Reni painting, chin, mouth, nose and eyes, the same child-like expression of Beatrice, thinking that the painter used colors and many shadings to make the portrait of Beatrice and instead the carver had only the shell to reproduce a such artwork, we can only tell that he made a unique and extraordinary work of art, the fruit of the ability of a master carver that was able to transfer into his cameo the same emotions  of the famous portrait. This is another museum quality piece. This subject is peculiarly rare and is object of desire for many collectors. The frame is simple but elegant, 15 kt gold. The shell is in perfect conditions with no stress lines or chips or cracks, the era of this cameo is Victorian, about 1850, .A  very desiderable cameo for any collector.
Beatrice Cenci (1577-1599) Symbol of the oppressed innocence even defined as “a fallen angel” and “goddess of beauty”, a young girl who burnt her childhood to oppose herself to the continued abuses, violences and maltreatements from her father the Count Francesco Cenci, powerful, violent and dissolute man. Beatrice and 4 members of her family were arrested, found guilty of the murder of the Count Cenci and condemned to death, at the order of Pope Clement VIII who may have been motivated by the hope of confiscating the assets of the family (still obscure page of the late renaissance). The common people of Rome, knowing the reasons for the murder, protested against the tribunal's decision, obtaining a short postponement of the execution. But pope Clement VIII showed no mercy at all. Beatrice was decapitated in Sant’Angelo Bridge in Rome in September 1599. Beatrice was buried in the church of San Pietro in Montorio. For the people of Rome she became a symbol of resistance against the arrogant aristocracy and a legend arose: every year on the night before her death, she came back to the bridge carrying her severed head. Beatrice has inspired many writers as Shelley, Dickens, Stendhal, Moravia etc.and many painters as Guido Reni (1575-642), Jan Vermeer (1632/1675).