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HOME : Intaglio Jewelry : Archive : Classical Revival Intaglio depicting the Roman Goddess Fortuna
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Classical Revival Intaglio depicting the Roman Goddess Fortuna - FJ.5317
Origin: Europe
Circa: 1700 AD to 1900 AD

Collection: Seals/Intaglio
Medium: Black Onyx-Gold

Additional Information: SOLD

Location: United States
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Mounted in a stunning 18 karat gold pendant.

Gem engraving is a miniaturistic art form whereby designs are cut into or on the surface of a gem. Intaglios, gemstones with an incised design below the surface of the gem, were made as early as the fourth and third millennia B.C. In Mesopotamia and the Aegean. However, it was in ancient Greece and Rome that the expressive and aesthetic language of gem engraving was truly born. The classic artisans carried engraving to an artistic level higher than ever seen before, borrowing their diverse themes from epic poetry and famous legends of gods and heroes.

In this stunning black onyx intaglio, created during the later classical revival period, we see the continuing classic glyptic tradition of exceptional artistry and beauty in the depiction of the roman deity Fortuna, goddess of luck or chance, known to the Greeks as Tyche. The benevolent blessings of Tyche/Fortuna were eagerly sought, especially in matters involving risk taking, contests, business or war. It was not uncommon for a temple of Fortuna to be located near the central business district of a roman town, so the goddess could preside over the transactions of daily life. The largest temple of Fortuna in the classical world was located at Palestrina, south of Rome, the ruins of which still awe visitors today. Fortuna appears frequently on roman coins minted to pay the army, for she was thought to bring victory in battle. The coins of many Greek cities were minted wearing the image of Tyche, meant to promote successful commerce. Tyche/Fortuna is usually depicted as a beautiful woman, dressed in flowing robes, and carrying a cornucopia (a horn of plenty) as a symbol of wealth and abundance, as in the case of this intaglio. Small devotional statues of Fortuna and talismanic jewelry bearing her image were popular throughout the vast Roman Empire. Her cult survives in the modern world in the person of "lady luck".
- (FJ.5317)


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