Intaglio Jewelry :
Archive : Roman Carnelian Intaglio of a Roman Emperor, Eagle, Horse, Ram, and Goose
Roman Carnelian Intaglio of a Roman Emperor, Eagle, Horse, Ram, and Goose - FJ.5220
Collection: Roman Seal Rings
Additional Information: SOLD
Location: United States
| Photo Gallery
Mounted in a stunning 18 karat gold ring.
The art of glyptics, carving on colored
semiprecious stones, is probably one of the
oldest art forms known to man. Intaglios, gems
with an incised design, were made as earl y as
the fourth and third millennia B.C. In
Mesopotamia and the Aegean islands, their
virtuosity of execution suggesting an old
tradition rooted in the earlier centuries.
However, the gems from ancient Greece and
Rome are worthy of special interest for it was
then and there that the expressive and aesthetic
language of glyptics was truly born. Nowhere is
that artistry more dramatically displayed than in
this carnelian intaglio, where the artist has
brilliantly combined a number of forms into one
striking image. On first impression, our eye sees
the figure of a standing eagle. Upon closer
examination we see that the head of the eagle is
that of a horse, while the body is comprised of a
bearded roman emperor, viewed in profile.
Above the eagle's tail feathers, the head of a ram
projects, giving the effect of a continuation of
the bird's plumage. Above the ram's head, the
long neck and head of a goose curves upward.
To complete this powerful image, a spear
appears behind the triumphant "eagle". Skillful
carving and a keen eye for composition highlight
this intaglio as a masterpiece of ancient artistry-
-timeless in its ability to please our senses.