Item Number: 149404
Title: The Farnese Cup
Author: Sampaolo, Valeria ; Luigi Spina
Record created on 08/09/18
Description: Milan: Five Continents, 2018. 34cm., hardcover, 80pp., 70 color illus.
Summary: The largest carved hardstone cup to have survived from the ancient world has come down to us through the ages probably without ever becoming an archaeological find: its peregrinations took it from Alexandria to Rome and thence to Constantinople, before it returned to Rome in the fifteenth century, where it was bought by the sharp-eyed connoisseur Lorenzo deí Medici. It then joined the Farnese Collection, from where it reached the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. The intriguing story of the cupís vicissitudes as it passed from one glittering court to another is matched by the still not wholly resolved interpretation of the scene depicted on its inner face, which has been the subject of a number of different readings and continues to be a matter of debate. The work is a tour de force of the carverís art, with the figures in the inner scene and the terrifying face of the Gorgon on the outside picked out with unerring skill, exploiting every shade of the sardonyx agate of which it is made.
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