Skip to Content
Today Open today 11–8

Cameo Portraying Tiberius

A work made of gold, sardonyx, enamel, and pearl.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of gold, sardonyx, enamel, and pearl.


14-37 (cameo); 1525-1550 (mount)


Roman (cameo) and Italian or French (mount)

About this artwork

Although Tiberius (reigned 14–37) was 56 years old when he became emperor of Rome, portraits of him, such as this one, depict a conspicuously younger man. Here he is shown in profile and crowned with a laurel wreath, a symbol of victory. The comma-shaped locks that cover his forehead resemble those of his predecessor, Augustus, but his large eyes and slightly protruding upper lip identify him as Tiberius. This portrait was carved from a layered piece of agate with brown and white bands so that the figure of the emperor stands out against the dark background. It is likely that the cameo was originally part of a larger, multifigured composition that was broken into smaller pieces, after which the portrait may have been cut down further for setting into the gold mount.


On View, Gallery 238


Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium


Ancient Roman


Cameo Portraying Tiberius


Italy (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Gold, sardonyx, enamel, and pearl


ΑΕΙΘΑΛΕΣ ("evergreen", literally, "ever-flourishing")


8 × 4.8 × 1 cm (3 3/16 × 1 7/8 × 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Marilynn B. Alsdorf

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions