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Morelli, Nicola

(1771—1838)


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(b Rome, 12 Sep 1771; d Rome, Feb 1838). Italian gem-engraver, active in Rome. He was renowned for his cameo portraits, preferring the technique to that of intaglio. Particularly noteworthy is the portrait of Francis I, Emperor of Austria (Vienna, Ksthist. Mus.) and the numerous works commissioned by the Bonaparte family. These include a cameo portrait of Marie-Letizia, a cameo with facing portraits of Lucien Bonaparte's two wives, Cristine Boyer (1773-1800) and Alexandrine Blechamps (1778-1855), another cameo portrait of Alexandrine Blechamps (all Rome, Mus. Napoleonico) and two portrait cameos of Napoleon (Rome, Villa Giulia; ex-Liverpool Mus.), the latter example given by Napoleon (reg 1804-14) and Empress Marie Louise to Marshal Ney and his wife. Morelli created (1807) a well-known parure that was given by Cardinal Joseph Fesch to his half-sister Marie-Letizia Bonaparte: the necklace, brooch and earrings contained nine cameo portraits of the Bonaparte family: Napoleon I, Cardinal Fesch, Louis, King of Holland, Joseph, King of Naples and Spain, Carlo Maria Bonaparte, Lucien, 1st Prince of Canino, Jérôme, King of Westphalia, Pauline Borghese and Caroline Murat.

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From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.


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