A marble paperweight set with a cameo bust of the Apollo Belvedere
Italy, 19th Century
9.9 cm high x 8.4 cm wide x 2.5 cm deep
This head is taken from the famous 'Apollo Belvedere', also called the Pythian Apollo, a celebrated marble sculpture from Classical Antiquity which was rediscovered in central Italy in the late 15th Century. The statue was displayed during the Renaissance in the courtyard of the Belvedere in the Vatican from the early sixteenth century onwards. From the Mid-18th Century the Apollo Belvedere was considered by neoclassicists to be the greatest ancient sculpture. It epitomized the ideal of aesthetic perfection for European art historians and Grand Tourists. It was taken to Paris in 1798 at the time of the Treaty of Tolentino and went to Paris where it remained until 1815 when it was returned to Rome. It can now be seen in the Vatican Museums in the Gabinetto delle Maschere of the Pio-Clementine Museum.
The Apollo Belvedere was much copied as a gem in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Tassie cast four versions of it. Compare with a cameo of the Apollo Belvedere carved by Luigi Saulini (1819-1883) formerly in the The Milton Weil Collection of Cameos and Intaglios and now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (inv. no. 40.20.55a-c). Also a further 19th Century cameo of the Apollo Belvedere mounted with a gold loop for use as a pendant which appeared as Lot 97, Sotheby's, London, Old Master Sculpture & Works of Art, 3 December 2019.
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