Carnelian ring stone


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 171

Holding a brush in his right hand and a flat palette in his left, a seated artist paints a female portrait bust on this intaglio gemstone. The tools show that the painter uses the tempera technique, in which pigment is applied with a binding medium such as egg, gum, or animal glue. The bust displays a fashionable coiffure with a nodus, also seen on the marble portrait head displayed nearby. The intaglio belongs to a small group of ancient ring stones depicting artists and sculptors.

Carnelian ring stone, Carnelian, Roman

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