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HOME : Intaglio Jewelry : Classical Revival Seal Rings : Intaglio of the Bust of Emperor Caracalla
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Intaglio of the Bust of Emperor Caracalla - FJ.6494
Origin: Europe
Circa: 1700 AD to 1800 AD

Collection: Seal Rings
Medium: Carnelian/Gold

Location: United States
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The art of glyptics, or carving on colored precious stones, is probably one of the oldest known to humanity. Intaglios, gems with an incised design, were made as early as the fourth and third millennia BC in Mesopotamia and Aegean Islands. They display a virtuosity of execution that suggests an old and stable tradition rooted in the earliest centuries. The tools required for carving gems were simple: a wheel with a belt-drive and a set of drills. Abrasives were necessary since the minerals used were too hard for a metal edge. A special difficulty of engraving intaglios, aside from their miniature size, was that the master had to work with a mirror image in mind.

Caracalla, (Julius Bassianus), was the elder son of the Roman emperor Septimius Severus and Julia Domna. The nickname Caracalla was derived from the long Gallic cloak he made fashionable in Rome. Upon his succession to the throne, he was forced to do battle with the Alamanni and the Carpi of the Danube region, thus proving his ability in military affairs. Caracalla was generous in the amenities provided to the populace of Rome; most notably the stupendous Baths which bear his name. This handsome intaglio shows the emperor facing left, wearing a laurel wreath and curled beard. His physical strength and determined expression is beautifully rendered by the delicate engraving, which shows a master's touch in every detail.
- (FJ.6494)


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