Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist in front of a townscape

Date: ca. 1520–30

Culture: Italian, Milan

Medium: Sardonyx and gold

Dimensions: 1 3/16 x 1 in. (3 x 2.6 cm); Visible cameo: 29 × 25 mm

Classification: Lapidary Work-Gems

Credit Line: The Milton Weil Collection, 1938

Accession Number: 38.150.4


The group echoes the new harmonies that Raphael and his school brought to painting. Suggestive comparisons exist in Raphael-esque Madonnas engraved by Giulio Bonasone and Gian Giacomo Caraglio (who doubled as an engraver of hardstones), but the graceful composition is apparently unique to this piece. The cityscape in the background is executed in intaglio. The irregular chestnut-hued translucent band around the edge of the stone is void, probably because it was meant to be embedded in a gold setting.