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HOME : Intaglio Jewelry : Loose Intaglios : Classical Revival Intaglio of a Woman Musician
Classical Revival Intaglio of a Woman Musician - FJ.6553
Origin: Europe
Circa: 18 th Century AD
Dimensions: 1" (2.5cm) high
Collection: Intaglio
Medium: Carnelian

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 B.C. in Mesopotamia and the Aegean Islands. They exhibit 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. A special difficulty of engraving intaglios, aside from their miniature size, was that the master had to work with a mirror-image in mind.

The Classical Revival was a phenomenon that swept through Europe in the 18th and 19th Centuries. A new appreciation for antiquity and ancient art forms was fostered by discoveries in the nascent scientific field of archaeology. Perhaps the Classical Revival also reveals a latent longing towards the Arcadian lifestyles of yesterday abandoned as Europe became rapidly industrialized and increasingly urbanized. Engraved upon the polished surface of this precious gemstone is a depiction of a standing female playing the lyre. She leans up against a pedestal crowned by a small sculpture of the god of love, Eros (known to Romans as Cupid). The presence of mischievous Eros suggests that this young lady might be a representation of the Muse Erato. One of the nine sisters who ruled of the arts and sciences in Ancient Greek mythology, Erato the Lovely was the Muse of love poetry and mimicry. Her attribute is the lyre and she is often depicted, as she is here, besides Eros. Erato is one of the more popular subjects depicted by Classical Revival lapidary artists. By the grace of her wisdom we compose lines of verse dedicated to romantic ideals of love.
- (FJ.6553)


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