Museum quality Georgian hardstone cameo signed Morelli

Nicola Morelli cameo Bacchante
Nicola Morelli cameo Bacchante
Nicola Morelli cameo Bacchante
Nicola Morelli cameo Bacchante
Nicola Morelli cameo Bacchante
Nicola Morelli cameo Bacchante
Nicola Morelli cameo Bacchante
Nicola Morelli cameo Bacchante

Museum quality Georgian hardstone cameo signed Morelli

6,500.00

Rarest Museum Quality Georgian Front Facing bust of a Bacchante sculpted in agate by Nicola Morelli (1771-1838) workshop. Mounted in an 18kt tested gold brooch and sold by Marret Freres & Jarry, Rue Vivienne, 16 Paris active between 1859-1878, within fitted case. Size approx cm 5x4x2. The cameo is in wonderful condition, commensurate with age. A small hairline underneath the chin.

This is an absolutely magnificent museum quality front-facing hardstone cameo of a Bacchante signed Morelli for the workshop of Nicola Morelli. It was carved in the workshop of one of the finest cameo carvers of the Georgian period, Nicola Morelli. Morelli was the pupil of Angelo Amastini and tutor to Benedetto Pistrucci. Morelli is probably most well known for producing cameos by commission to Napoleon Bonaparte as well as creating cameos for Castellani. He produced several portraits of the Bonaparte family. Although auction houses do not routinely address this subject, there are three different Morelli cameo carvers identified in history: Nicola (1771-1838), his son Stanislao (1798-after 1844) and Gioacchino (born in Rome 1785) who was not related. The father and son Nicola and Stanislao worked together in a workshop and died within 6 years of each other. The third Gioacchino is not noted as being historically significant with any specific works of note. It is not specifically clear if Gioacchino signed his work from historical records. Cameo production relied significantly on the work of apprentices and Nicola had several apprentices most notably Benedetto Pistrucci who started to apprentice at the Morelli workshop when he was 15. Benedetto Pistrucci quickly surpassed his teacher to become one of the most famous cameo carvers of the period later becoming the chief medalist at the mint in England as well as producing a number of his own magnificent cameos. Generally, at least a portion of almost all cameos produced, were carved by apprentices based upon their abilities with the more detailed aspects performed by the master carvers. Apprentices were most likely responsible for routine tasks, preparing blank hardstones by carving general features, as well as some finishing aspects like smoothing surfaces. It is possible that apprentices and other carvers in the workshop could have signed pieces on behalf of the master carvers. That would explain inconsistencies in Morelli signatures that I have noted below. Therefore due to these complex work relationships, I believe that it would be better to describe items based upon the workshop they were produced in rather than the owner of the workshop. Nicola Morelli attributed signatures include cameos inscribed with MORELLI, N.MORELLI, NIC.MORELLI, MOR∑LLI. The signature MORELLI on this particular cameo is the inscription most commonly utilized and several cameos directly attributed to Nicola Morelli via provenance and recordkeeping documenting their commission are identified with the MORELLI signature. Signatures with N.MORELLI AND NIC.MORELLI appear to be more frequently visible in cameos with earlier stylistic elements. The initials N. & NIC. that appear on earlier Morelli cameos may have disappeared from use as a Morelli signature because Nicola and Stanislao were working on cameos together. Additionally, the initials could have been removed from use due to expediency as the workshop became busier due to famous commissions.

2. Diamond encrusted Napoleon cameo Albionart http://www.albionart.com/period/neoclassicism/

3.  Female bust https://www.pinterest.com/pin/442971313329601789/

4.  Morelli Perseus Cameo Albionart http://www.albionart.com/period/neoclassicism/1

5.  Bacchante   http://www.debaecque.fr/html/fiche.jsp?id=5070227&np=9&lng=fr&npp=20&ordre=&aff=3&r=&gsessionid=75AC95D01B0304CC86837035260EE2AC

6. Albionart Bacchante Morelli http://www.albionart.com/period/neoclassicism/

7.  French Auction, original link disabled  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/442971313329601711/

8.  Sotheby’s  http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2010/old-master-sculpture-and-works-of-art-l10231/lot.64.html

9. Bacchante Cameo Metropolitan Museum  http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/198625

 

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