Glyptic, or the Art of Gem Cutting

December 15, 2021
12:00 p.m. EST

American Friends of the Louvre is pleased to invite you to a Zoom webinar presented by Philippe Malgouyres, chief curator of Decorative Arts at the Louvre.  Mr. Malgouyres will present the thousand-year-old technique of gem cutting with a focus on the Miseroni Cameo, a glyptic masterpiece from the Italian Renaissance.

Attributed to Giovanni Ambrogio Miseroni (1551–1616), one of the most brilliant hardstone carvers of his time, this great cameo, representing Venus and Cupid, is an exceptional work of art, engraved in an agate from the Grisons. The cameo once covered a cup described for the first time in the collection of Cardinal Mazarin in 1661. The cup was acquired by Louis XIV and remained in the royal collections until the French Revolution.

Philippe Malgouyres will present the art of gem cutting, this sumptuous object, as well as its fascinating history. During the French Revolution, the cup disappeared from Louis XIV’s Royal Collection. In 1968, the base reappeared and was acquired by the Louvre at auction. The lid, however, remained at large. Now, more than half a century later, the lid has resurfaced. The Louvre now has the exciting opportunity to acquire this exceptional cameo and reunite the two pieces of this exquisite work of art, launching its annual “Tous Mécènes” crowdfunding campaign.

Philippe Malgouyres is chief curator in the department of Decorative Arts at the Louvre. In addition to publications on the museum’s collections (ivories, weapons and armors, and bronzes from the Italian Renaissance), he also specializes in the relationship between forms and materials. He has curated various exhibitions on cross-cutting subjects, including the relationship between art, piety, and religious practices, and on the imaginary (most recently Making Sacred Images Rome–Paris, 1580–1660 at the Louvre Museum and The Moon at the Grand Palais).