Cameo


Cameo

:"For the "brief appearance" see Cameo appearance.":"For the "chemical emergency software", see Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations.":"For other uses, see Cameo (disambiguation)."Cameo is a method of carving, or an item of jewellery or vessel made in this manner. It features a raised (positive) relief image; contrast with intaglio, which has a negative image.

The term "cameo" also refers to a proof coin that has frosted lettering and features, providing attractive contrast with the mirrored fields of the coin. The terms "deep cameo" and "ultra cameo" describe cameo coins having the boldest, most attractive contrast.

Technique

There are three main materials for Cameo carving; Shells or Agate (called a Hardstone cameo), and glass. Cameos can be produced by setting a carved relief, such as a portrait, onto a background of a contrasting colour. This is called an assembled cameo. Alternately, a cameo can be carved directly out of a material with integral layers or banding, such as (banded) agate or layered glass, where different layers have different colours. Sometimes dyes are used to enhance these colours.

History

Cameos are often worn as jewelry. Stone cameos of great artistry were made in Greece dating back as far as the 6th century BC. They were very popular in Ancient Rome, and one of the most famous stone cameos from this period is the Gemma Claudia made for the Emperor Claudius. The technique has since enjoyed periodic revivals, notably in the early Renaissance, and again in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Neoclassical revival began in France with Napoleon's support of the glyptic arts, and even his coronation crown was decorated with cameos. In Britain, this revival first occurred during King George III's reign, and his granddaughter, Queen Victoria, was a major proponent of the cameo trend, to the extent that they would become mass produced by the second half of the 19th century. The visual art form of the cameo has even inspired at least one writer of more recent times, the 19th-century Russian poet Lev Mey, who composed a cycle of six poems entitled " _ru. Камеи" ("Cameos", 1861), as reflections on each of the Roman rulers from Julius Caesar to Nero. In 1852 Théophile Gautier titled a collection of his highly polished, lapidary poems "Emaux et Camées" ("Enamels and Cameos").

Roman Glass Cameos

During the Roman period the cameo technique was used on artificial glass blanks, in imitation of objects being produced in agate or sardonyx. These glass cameos were produced in two periods; between around 25 BCE and 50/60 CE, and in the later Empire around the mid-third and mid-fourth century. [Whitehouse, D., Cameo Glass, in Roman Glass: two centuries of art and invention, M. Newby and K. Painter, Editors. 1991, Society of Antiquaries of London: London.] Roman glass cameos are rare objects, with only around two hundred fragments and sixteen complete pieces known, [Whitehouse, D., Cameo Glass, in Roman Glass: two centuries of art and invention, M. Newby and K. Painter, Editors. 1991, Society of Antiquaries of London: London.] only one of which dates from the later period. [Whitehouse, D., Late Roman cameo glass, in Annales du 11e Congres. 1990: Amsterdam.] During the early period they usually consisted of a blue glass base with a white overlying layer, [Fleming, S.J., Roman Glass; reflections on cultural change. 1999, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.] but those made during the later period usually have a colourless background covered with a translucent coloured layer. [Whitehouse, D., Late Roman cameo glass, in Annales du 11e Congres. 1990: Amsterdam.] Blanks could be produced by fusing two separately cast sheets of glass, or by dipping the base glass into a crucible of molten overlay glass during blowing. [Fleming, S.J., Roman Glass; reflections on cultural change. 1999, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.] The most famous example of a cameo from the early period is the Portland Vase.

hell Cameos

The earliest known use of shell for cameo carving was during the Renaissance, in the 15th and 16th centuries. Before that time, cameos were carved from hardstone. The Renaissance cameos are typically white on a grayish background and were carved from the shell of a mussel or cowry, the latter a tropical mollusk.

In the mid 18th century, explorations revealed new shell varieties. Helmet shells ( "Cassis tuberosa") from the West Indies and queen conch shells ( "Strombus gigas") from the Bahamas arrived in Europe. This sparked a big increase in the number of cameos carved from shells.

After 1850, demand for cameos grew as they became popular souvenirs of the grand tour among the middle class. [Cite journal| last = Malcolm| first = Fiona| year = 2008| title = Vintage beauty| periodical = The National Trust Magazine| publisher = The National Trust | issue = Autumn 200 | pages =p.37]

Conch shells carve very well, but their color fades over time. Modern sources for the best quality conch shell are Madagascar and South Africa.

Cameo subjects

Classically the designs carved onto cameo stones were either scenes of Greek or Roman mythology or Portraits of Rulers or important dignitaries. In history, agate portrait cameos were often gifts from royalty to their subjects. These antique cameos, some more than 2000 years old are either displayed in museums or are in private collections.

Notable historic cameos

Gemma Augustea Cameo – Roman, After 10 A. D. Two-Layered onyx [Cameo collection at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna]

Gemma Claudia Cameo – Roman, 49 A.D. Five-layered onyx [Cameo collection at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna] Herophiloska Cameo – Roman, 14 to 37 ADThis portrait of a man with laurel wreath is probably of Emperor Tiberius. The work is signed "Herophilos Dioskourid [ou] ("Herophilus, son of Dioscorides). The colour of the glass was intended by the artist to imitate turquoise. [Cameo collection at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna]

Agrippina the Elder Cameo-Carved in Italy in the period of 37 – 41 AD. The carving is a three layer agate.

Ptolemaic double cameo-Hellenistic, 278–270/269 B. C. Eleven-layered onyx; [Cameo collection at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna]

"Blacas Cameo"-Roman, about AD 14–20. This was carved from a three layered sardonyx. It is a fragment of a larger portrait of the Roman emperor-Augustus. [The British Museum, London.]

"Gonzaga Cameo" Ptolemy II and Arsinoë II.Sardonyx. 3rd century B.C. [Saint-Petersburg, The State Hermitage Museum]

"The head of Flora Cameo" – Benedetto Pistrucci. AD 1812 In this cameo the top red-brown layer has been carved into roses. The face is carved from the white layer. The collector Richard Payne Knight purchased the Flora cameo from an Italian dealer, believing it to be Roman. The Italian carver Pistrucci claimed to have carved it himself. Payne challenged Pistrucci to carve a copy to prove his claim. The ensuing publicity earned Pistrucci several commissions.

Modern cameos

Modern cameos are carved into layered agates. The layers are dyed to create strong color contrasts. The most usual colors used for two layer stones are white on black, white on blue, and white on red-brown. Three layer stones are sometimes made. The colors are usually black on white on black. The layers are translucent, this allows the artist to create shading effects by removing material to allow the background layer to show through. This way a very realistic, life-like quality to a figure can be achieved. For example thinning the top black layer on a three layer stone changes its color to shades of brown. Removing material from the white layer creates shades of blue or grey depending on the color of the base.

Ultrasonic machine carved cameos

The majority of modern agate cameos are carved with the aid of the Ultrasonic Mill. This a process where multiple copies of a master design can be produced very quickly by pressing a master die onto the agate cameo blank. A film of diamond slurry is used to aid cutting and the die vibrates ultrasonically in a vertical motion. The master is often hand carved by a skilled cameo artist. The result is a cameo that has a satin surface texture described as "freshly fallen snow", (FSS) by [Cameos Old and New] Anna Miller. This texture and the lack of any undercutting are used by appraisers as markers to prove that the cameo is machine-made.

Hand-worked portrait cameos

These cameos are carved by hand usually working from photographs of the subject. The fact that there is usually only one copy made means that the tooling costs involved rule out the ultrasonic carving process.

There are very few people working in this field as this is one of the hardest challenges for any gemstone carver. The combination of a highly developed artistic ability, craft skill and many years of experience are needed to be able to create life-like portraits.

It is quite rare, these days, for subjects other than portraits to be carved by hand as agate cameos. The traditional themes of classical scenes from mythology or a standard image of a young lady, are more likely to be made with the help of the ultrasonic carving machine as a limited collection of typically 50 – 200 pieces.

hell cameos

Today the most popular shells for carving are the bull mouth carnelian shell, "Cassis rufa", from the East African coast; this has white and orange or white and brownish-orange layers. The most highly prized shell for carving is the emperor helmet shell, "Cassis madagascariensis". This shell has white and dark brown layers and is known as sardonyx shell, and looks similar to the layered agate known as sardonyx.

The world center for cameo carving in shell is Torre del Greco, Italy. The shells are first marked with a series of ovals in a process called signing, then cut into oval blanks for the cameo carver. The actual cameo is mainly cut with a metal scraping tool called a "bulino," an invention of Jewish artisan Antonio Cimeniello. A number of metal gravers are used: flat-faced, round and three-cornered. To speed production, grinding wheels are used to quickly remove excess material. When the details are completed, the shell is then soaked in olive oil, cleaned with soap and water and selectively polished with a hand brush.

Bibliography

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References

See also

* Intaglio (jewellery)
* [http://www.portraitsinstone.com/process.php How a portrait cameo in layered agate is made]
* [http://www.portraitsinstone.com/queen_cameo.php The Pocahontas Cameo Brooch]
* [http://www.extasia.com/retail-jewelry/cameos-and-intaglios.html Origin of Cameo and Intaglio Jewelry]
* [http://www.portraitsinstone.com/wordpress/index.php/2007/07/12/making-the-new-pocahontas-cameo-brooch-part-2/ Carving the Pocahontas Cameo in natural un-dyed layered agate]
* : "Cameos")

External links

* cite web |publisher= Victoria and Albert Museum
url= http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/sculpture/bayes/carved/precious/shell_cameos/index.html
title= Shell Cameos
work=Sculpture
accessdate= 2007-09-22

* [http://www.metmuseum.org/special/cameo_appearances/cameo_images.asp Cameo Appearances Exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, 2004]
* [http://www.khm.at/system2E.html?/staticE/page758.html Cameo collection at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna | Gemma Augusta, Gemma Claudia, Herophiloska Cameo]
* [http://ancientrome.ru/art/artworke/book/neverov/ac.htm Antique Cameos in the Hermitage Museum]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cameo — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para otros usos de este término, véase CAMEO (satélite). Un cameo es la aparición de una persona o un material conocido en una película, en una serie de televisión o en cualquier medio, sin que se refleje en los… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Cameo — bezeichnet: das englische Wort für Kamee, ein erhabenes Steinschnitt Relief Cameo Auftritt in Filmen Cameo (Band), eine 1974 gegründete US amerikanische Funk/R B Gruppe Cameo Records, ein US amerikanisches Plattenlabel Cameo (Apfel), eine… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Caméo — d Alfred Hitchcock dans Les Enchaînés Un caméo (francisation du terme anglophone cameo appearance, apparu en 1851 dans le monde du théâtre) est l apparition fugace dans un récit d un acteur, d une actrice, du réalisateur ou d une personnalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cameo — Cam e*o (k[a^]m [ e]*[ o]), n.; pl. {Cameos} (k[a^]m [ e]*[=o]z). [It. cammeo; akin to F. cam[ e]e, cama[ i]eu, Sp. camafeo, LL. camaeus, camahutus; of unknown origin.] A carving in relief, esp. one on a small scale used as a jewel for personal… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cameo — has a plural cameos. In its meaning ‘a small character part in a play or film’, it is used mainly attributively, as in cameo part, cameo role, etc.: • Rather than play these zonking great parts…I will try to find some dazzling little cameo roles… …   Modern English usage

  • Camēo — (Cammēo), Kamee …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Cameo — Camēo (ital.), Kamee …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • cameo — v. cammeo …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • cameo — 16c., camuse, camfeo, etc. (from early 13c. in Anglo L.), carved precious stone with two layers of colors, from It. cammeo (13c.), from M.L. cammæus, of unknown origin, perhaps ultimately from Arabic qamaa il flower buds, or Pers. chumahan agate …   Etymology dictionary

  • cameo — ► NOUN (pl. cameos) 1) a piece of jewellery consisting of a portrait in profile carved in relief on a background of a different colour. 2) a short piece of writing which neatly encapsulates something. 3) a small distinctive part played by a… …   English terms dictionary

  • cameo — [kam′ē ō΄] n. pl. cameos [It cammeo < ML camaeus, camahutus; ult. < ? Pers chumāhän, agate] 1. a carving in relief on certain stratified gems (sardonyx, agate, etc.) or shells so that the raised design, often a head in profile, is usually… …   English World dictionary


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