The "Sibilla Persica" after Guercino
  • Material: Cornelian Shell, 18 k gold.
  • Size:  3 3/8" by 3", only cameo is 2 1/2" by 2 1/8".
  • Date and Origin: Circa 1850 Italy, frame could be English.  Original fitted case.
  • Conditions: A very few natural slight lines in the shell visible when cameo is backlit, not visible from the front by naked eye. A minor loss to the blue enamel on the left and right sides.
Highest Museum Quality cameo depicting the Sibilla Persica (Persian Sibyl). This cameo is after a painting of Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, Cento 1591 - Bologna 1666) painted in 1647 for the Governor of Cento Carlo Rondinelli. The painting is now in the Capitoline Museum in Rome.
This is a magnificently carved cameo, look how the carver caught all the details from the painting. Her wonderful  dress is magnificently made, her left hand softly rested against her cheek is so wonderfully that the it seems real. Also the carver used the orange/reddish color of the shell to give some soft color highlights to some area of her clothes. Her eyes and her face are deeply expressive and really seems that she's thinking to what she's writing on the magnificent carved paper sheet, she's trying to decipher the book of the prophecies and solve the enigmas in it. So the legend says. The carver was so skill and was able to give to her face a true thinking expression. From this and from all the masterly carved details, you can easily understand why this is a museum quality and rare cameo. This one is a cameo  who really could be displayed in a museum  because everything in this cameo is amazingly carved, and all the details are just perfect.  The frame is gorgeous, elaborately worked and enhanced with blue enamel, made of massive gold. This is another masterly carved cameo. A very desirable collectors piece, rare and museum quality cameo.
A bit of History:
The word Sibyl comes Latin from the ancient Greek word sibylla, meaning prophetess There were many Sibyls in the ancient world, but the Persian Sibyl is said to have foretold the exploits of Alexander of Macedon (The Great) .Nicanor, who wrote the life of Alexander mentions her. The Persian Sibyl, by name Sambethe, was said to be of the family of Noah. A painting of Sibilla Persica by Guercino (1647) hangs in the Capitoline Museum, Rome. The Persian Sibyl was said to be prophetic priestess presiding over the Apollonian Oracle though her location remained vague enough so that she might be called the "Babylonian Sibyl".