Cupid and Psyche by Giuseppe or Niccolò Cerbara,

Rome, c.1800


a delicate blue aquamarine engraved with the god of love Cupid depicted tying a butterfly (the attribute of Psyche) with a ribbon to an anchor which sits at his feet, an allegory to the soul being ensnared by love.

Mounted in a gold brooch with a deep blue enamel border.


Length: 2.9cm (excluding pin)


Number 652, 70, Descrizione di una collezione di N.8131 Impronte in smalto possedute in Roma da Tommaso Cades in Gesso cavate accuratamente dale piu’ celebri Gemme incise conosciute, che esistono nei principali Musei e Collezioni particolari di Europa (No. 1148 Impronte delle migliori Gemme incise dagl’Incisori piu’ distini Moderni, incominciando dal Secolo XV) (Cades, circa 1829).

Tav. CXXVI, 9, Gemmen und Kameen des Altertum und der Neuzeit (Lippold, 1922).

No.243, Tomo VI, Casetto 6, La Collezione Paoletti: Stampi in vetro per impronte di intagli e cammei, volume II (Stefanelli, 2012).

Giuseppe (1770-1856) and Niccolò (1796-1858) Cerbara were the sons of Roman gem engraver Giovanni Battista Cerbara (1740-c.1812).

Giuseppe is named as a member of the Academy of San Luca in 1812 and he was appointed Incisore Camerale to the Papal Mint in 1822. He was also appointed Incisore Particolare Dei Sommi Pontefici by Pope Leo XII. In 1815, he became a member of the Akademie der Bildenden Kunste in Vienna and in 1825 the Royal Academy of Fine Art of Antwerp. In 1831 he joined the Congregation of the Virtuosi al Pantheon and the Florentine Academy of Fine Arts in 1834.

 Niccolò worked as a gem and coin engraver for the Royal Mint between 1829 and 1858. He is listed in 1829 as ‘chamber engraver,’ executing seals for the Sacred Apostolic Palace. As engraver of dies for the Papal Mint, he assisted his brother in producing medals for Popes Leo XII to Pius IX.