The cameo is an ancient art form dating back to the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. Share these 10 fun cameo facts with your students, then give our Cameo Inspiration lesson plan a go!
- Although the name is now synonymous with a woman’s brooch featuring an ivory-looking facial profile, cameo is actually a method of carving that creates a raised relief.
- Historically, a cameo could depict any subject or scene from any angle, as long as it was in raised relief.
- Cameos are thought to have originated in Alexandria, the Egyptian Nile town founded by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.
- Ancient cameos were carved into gems, stones like onyx and agate, or glass. Queen Victoria popularized the carving of cameos into seashells.
- The profile cameo became popular in the 19th
- In the Hellenistic Period in ancient Greece, women wore cameos of Eros, the God of Love, to announce their desire.
- Cameos may have played a role in the death of Pope Paul II. He sported so many gems and stones that his hands never warmed, possibly leading to the chill that killed him.
- Napoleon was also a fan of the cameo, founding a school in Paris to teach the art of cameo carving.
- Specialists look at the hairstyles, clothing, body types, and facial features depicted in cameos to help determine the date they were carved.
- Torre del Greco, in Italy, is the Cameo Capital of the world.
View the complete Cameo Inspiration lesson plan, including step-by-step directions and material list, and get your students started on their very own raised relief cameos today!
For Grades K-8.