Madonna and Child in the Clouds

ca. 1590; ca. 1602 (mounting), Artist: Alessandro Masnago , (Schnitt)



Madonna and Child in the Clouds

As if by a miracle of nature the shape of the madonna emerges from the cloudy coloured agate. The heavenly apparition on the one hand gives the impression of having been hidden in the stone from the beginning, while on the other hand it is just in a process of materializing. The natural material appears self-creating, the artists hand merely setting the figure free for the eye to behold. Gem cutter Masnago who mainly worked for Rudolph II and many of whose works are preserved in the Vienna collection, was famous for his sensitivity in using the veining of agate which resulted in this striking identity of nature and figurative form. This cameo is already mentioned in Morigias Nobilità di Milano of 1595 as one of Masnagos works. The precious setting is by Jan Vermeyen.

Location: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Kunstkammer Wien Raum XXVI

Object data

Object Name



Milan; Prague (mounting)


ca. 1590; ca. 1602 (mounting)


Alessandro Masnago , (Schnitt) (tätig in Mailand 1560 - 1620) - GND

Jan Vermeyen , (Fassung) (vor 1559 Brüssel - 1608 Prag) - GND


Agate, gold, enamel


5,5 cm × 5,5 cm

Image rights

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Kunstkammer

Inv. No.

Antikensammlung, XII 815

Kunst & Patenschaft

This object is still without a Art Patron. Accept the patronage and make sure that this cultural treasure is preserved for future generations.
Your donation is a direct and sustainable contribution to the scientific documentation, research, restoration, and presentation of the artworks of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.

Become an art patron