Cameo Glass Flask

Object Details

Title:

Cameo Glass Flask

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Roman

Place:

Roman Empire (Place created)

Date:

25 B.C.–A.D. 25

Medium:

Glass

Object Number:

85.AF.84

Dimensions:

7.6 × 4.2 cm (3 × 1 5/8 in.)

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Cameo glass is primarily a product of the early Roman Empire and is specifically associated with the elite and royal of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Its manufacture is therefore mostly limited to the decades around 25 BC – AD 25 and it is rare; less than twenty pieces have survived in their entirety. The technique imitates cameos carved from shell or colored stone and the most popular color scheme is white over a blue background. In this case, the tiny flask was first blown in translucent blue glass; after a brief period of cooling it was dipped in opaque white glass, after which it was carved and polished by a lapidary artisan.

The annexation of Egypt in 30 BC and the arrival in Rome in 10 BC of two obelisks from Heliopolis helped to develop a milieu in which the use of Egyptian motifs thrived, inspiring Roman artists to evoke the imagery and iconography of ancient Egypt. While it has been suggested that the scenes on this flask might represent specific gods, such as Amon-Re, Horus and Thoth, the meaningless hieroglyphs on the obelisk as well as the general obscurity of the iconography prevents a specific reading of the narrative. Instead, the figures and motifs would seem to evoke through setting and characterization the exotic Egyptian atmosphere so popular in the art of Julio-Claudian Rome.

Provenance
by 1962 - 1985

Ernst Kofler

-

and Marthe Truniger (Lucerne, Switzerland)

1985

Private Collection [sold, Ancient Glass Formerly in the Kofler-Truniger Collection, Christie's, London, March 5-6, 1985, lot 150, to the J. Paul Getty Museum through Robin Symes, Limited.]

Exhibitions
Sammlung E. und M. Kofler-Truniger, Luzern (June 7 to August 2, 1964)
  • Kunsthaus Zürich (Zurich), June 7 to August 2, 1964
Glass of the Caesars (April 23, 1987 to September 11, 1988)
  • The Corning Museum of Glass (Corning), April 23 to October 18, 1987
  • Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum (Mainz), March 11 to September 11, 1988
Cleopatra's Egypt: Age of the Ptolemies (October 7, 1988 to September 10, 1989)
  • The Brooklyn Museum of Art (Brooklyn), October 7, 1988 to January 2, 1989
  • The Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit), February 15 to May 1, 1989
  • Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung (Munich), June 8 to September 10, 1989
Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004
Reflecting Antiquity: Modern Glass Inspired by Ancient Rome (October 18, 2007 to May 27, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), October 18, 2007 to January 14, 2008
  • The Corning Museum of Glass (Corning), February 15 to May 27, 2008
Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World (March 27 to September 9, 2018)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 27 to September 9, 2018
Bibliography

"Important Recent Acquisitions." Journal of Glass Studies 4 (1962), p. 140, no. 5.

Sammlung E. und M. Kofler-Truniger. Exh. cat., Kunsthaus Zurich, June 7-August 2, 1964. (Basel: Kunsthaus Zurich, 1964), p. 47, no. 456; pl. 37.

Jucker, Hans. "'Promenade archeologique' durch die Austellung der Sammlung Kofler in Kunsthaus Zurich," Antike Kunst 8 (1965), pp. 40-55, p. 46, and passim; pls. 15, 16. 2 and .4; figs. 5, 6.

3000 Jahre Glaskunst von der antike bis zum Jugendstil, exh. cat. (Lucern: Kunsthalle, 1981), p. 33, full page ill.; p. 72, no. 226, ill.

Goldstein, Sidney M., et al. Cameo Glass. Masterpieces from 2000 Years of Glassmaking. Exh. cat., Corning Museum of Glass, May 1-October 31, 1982. Corning, NY: 1982, p. 15, no. 8; p. 23, fig. 4; p. 99, cat. no. 4.

Christie's, London. Sale cat., March 5-6, 1985, lot 150.

Fischer, Peter. “Kunst und Antiquitätenmarkt.” Die Kunst 97, part 1 (May 1985), p. 398.

"Acquisitions/1985." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 14 (1986), pp. 194-95, no. 65.

"Recent Important Acquisitions Made by Public and Private Collections in the United States and Abroad." Journal of Glass Studies 28 (1986), p. 98, no. 2.

Harden, Donald B. "Cameo Glasses," Glass of the Caesars. Exh. cat., Corning Museum of Glass, April 25-October 18, 1987, et alia loca. Milan: 1987. pp. 53-57, pp. 55, 83-84; cat. no. 36.

Sotheby's, London. Ancient Glass, November 20, 1987, p. 64.

Bianchi, R. S. Cleopatra's Egypt. Age of the Ptolemies. Exh. cat., Brooklyn Museum. 1988, pp. 218-19, no. 111.

Painter, Kenneth, and David Whitehouse. "The Portland Vase." Journal of Glass Studies 32 (1990), pp. 150-53, cat. no. A8, figs. 111-115.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 55.

Whitehouse, David. "Cameo Glass," Roman Glass: Two Centuries of Art and Invention. M. Newby and K. Painter, eds. London: 1991. pp. 19-32, p. 25, no. 13.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 55.

Towne Markus, Elana. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Antiquities. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 104.

Grimm, Gunter. Alexandria. Die erste Koenigstadt der hellenistischen Welt. Mainz: P. von Zabern, 1998, fig. 145.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 55.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: 2002), p. 206.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 48, ill.

Lierke, Rosemarie. Die nicht-geblasenen antiken Glasgefäße-ihre Herstellung von den Anfänge bis zu den Luxusgläsern der Römer (Offenbach/Main: Deutsche Glastechnische Gesellschaft, 2009), p. 68, ill.

Wight, Karol and Swetnam-Burland, Molly. "The Iconography of the Cameo Glass Flask at the J. Paul Getty Museum." Kölner Jahrbuch 43. Band (2010), pp.839-846, figs. 1-5, pp. 839-846.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 214.

Lierke, Rosemarie. "Zur Herstellung der antiken Kameogläser." in Restaurierung und Archäologie 4, 2011, 75-105, 77, fig. 1.5, 91, fig. 27a.

Swetnam-Burland, Molly. Egypt in Italy: Visions of Egypt in Roman Imperial Culture (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 56-57, fig. 1.20, pl. 3.

Sofroniew, Alexandra. Household Gods: Private Devotion in Ancient Greece and Rome (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), pp. 108-9, fig. 84.

Spier, Jeffrey, et al., eds. Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World, exh. cat.  (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2018), p. 176, no. 176, ill., entry by Sara E. Cole.