Nessus Abducting Dejanira

Maker: Giuseppe Girometti (Italian, Rome 1780–1851 Rome)

Date: ca. 1815–25

Culture: Italian, Rome

Medium: Sardonyx, mounted in gold as a pendant

Dimensions: Overall: 1 15/16 x 2 1/4 in. (4.9 x 5.7 cm); visible cameo (confirmed): 40.5 x 48 mm

Classification: Lapidary Work-Gems

Credit Line: Purchase, Assunta Sommella Peluso, Ada Peluso, and Romano I. Peluso Gift, in memory of Ignazio Peluso, 2004

Accession Number: 2004.164


The centaur Nessus, midstream, is carrying the protesting Deianira, wife of Hercules, at the very moment that Hercules, standing on the riverbank facing them, fires the arrow that will kill him. Girometti repeated a relief by the Danish Neoclassical sculptor Thorvaldsen; the Museum acquired a fine marble example of the Thorvaldsen as well as this gem in 2004. Girometti signed the cameo in Greek.