Italian Shell Cameo by Filippo Sirletti


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Category:Tag: SKU: 135856


An important shell cameo signed Filippo Giovanni Sirletti. This would date this work at around 1800.An excellent condition cameo by an important gem engraver. Sirletti were an Italian family of engravers, jewellers, gold- and silversmiths. Flavio Sirletti (b Ferrara, 1683; d Rome, 15 Aug 1737) was a gem-engraver and jeweller. He moved from Ferrara to Rome in the early years of the 18th century and from 1719 was a member of the Virtuosi al Pantheon. His admirers included Giovanni Pichler, and contemporary and later critics lauded his work for its fineness of touch, which recalled the technique and style of the Classical engravers. Giulianelli claimed that Sirletti achieved this through his revival of the use of a diamond point. Intaglios included portraits of his contemporaries, the most renowned being that of Carlo Maratti engraved on a carnelian (untraced), as well as reproductions on gems of such well-known antique statues and busts as Caracalla and the Farnese Hercules (untraced; originals both Naples, Mus. N. S. Martino). One of his last works, a reproduction of the Laokoon (Rome, Vatican, Mus. Pio-Clementino) on an amethyst, was acquired by the Duke of Beaufort (probably the 4th Duke, Charles Noel, 1709-56), and was said by contemporaries to be Flavio’s masterpiece. A bust of Ariadne in chalcedony (Vienna, Ksthist. Mus.) is signed F. Sirletti. Other signatures were in Greek characters. From 1721 to 1730 he received a stipend as jeweller to the Sacro Palazzo Apostolico, for which in 1722 he made two cardinals’ rings (untraced) with intaglios and enamel and the arms of Pope Innocent XIII. He is also known to have incised fake signatures of Classical artists on to old or retouched stones and to have produced forgeries of antique cameos for dealers. Casts of his work were taken by James Tassie for his collection (examples in Edinburgh, N.P.G., and St Petersburg, Hermitage). Four of his sons were artists: Francesco Sirletti (b Rome, 1713; d Rome, 24 June 1788) and Raimondo Sirletti (b Rome, 1715; d Rome, 1737) were both gem-engravers; Giovanni Sirletti (i) (b Rome, 1723) was a silversmith; and Filippo Sirletti (b Rome, 1726; d after 1807) was a goldsmith. Francesco and Raimondo worked very much in the shadow of their fathers reputation. Francesco specialized in such Classical subjects as Venus and Cupid and Sophocles, and such portraits as that of his brother Raimondo Sirletti and of Frederick II, King of Prussia. He also worked for the Sacro Palazzo Apostolico, executing in 1759 a cameo of the Entombment contained in a hollowed-out piece of sardonyx (untraced). Casts of his work were made by Alessandro Cades (1734-1809) and Tommaso Cades (1772-after 1850), and others are in Rome (Pal. Braschi). Other members of the family were: Giovanni’s son Carlo (i) Sirletti (bRome, 1753), a goldsmith and cameo-engraver; Filippo’s son Gioacchino Sirletti, a goldsmith, active from 1806; Carlo (i)’s two sons Pietro Sirletti (b Rome, c. 1781) and Giovanni (ii) Sirletti (bc. 1788), both cameo-engravers; and Giovanni (ii)’s son Carlo (ii) Sirletti (b Rome, 1818), an engraver.Further high resolution images can be sent on request.