XQGCH 1991 187
XQG 2002 146
G&J 2008 32
Cameo with a bust of the warrior and hero, Hercules, cut in the round. He is bearded and looking over his right shoulder. The lion skin covers his head and is draped over his shoulders.
Similar small-scale busts were made by Milanese craftsmen in the grand ducal workshops of Florence to decorate cabinets and other pieces of furniture. The metal socle resembles those used as mounts for the Florentine examples. The ‘heroic’ Hercules representations possibly refer to Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici (r. 1537-74). Hercules was the symbol of the city of Florence and it is well known that Cosimo likened himself to the hero.
Text adapted from Ancient and Modern Gems and Jewels in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, London, 2008