Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Gold ring with intaglio of seated woman and flying Eros

2nd half of the 5th century B.C.
Overall: 7 1/16 x 7/16in. (18 x 1.1cm)
Gold and Silver
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Bothmer Purchase Fund and Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1994
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 158
The bezel of this ring has an exquisitely detailed intaglio of a woman approached by Eros. The woman is seated on a stool, one turned leg of which is visible. Her hair is bound up in a netlike sakkos. She wears earrings, a necklace, and, on her right wrist, a double bracelet. A belted chiton covers her upper arms, and a himation is bunched around her waist, covering her legs. The fabric's folds are rendered in parallel ridges, organized to clarify the direction of the drapery as well as to reveal the forms of the body. The woman holds a frond in her right hand. Eros flies up toward her face, touching her right shoulder with one hand and raising a wreath to her head with the other.
Such a scene was fairly common on this type of ring, which was made to be decorative rather than to serve primarily as a signet. Both the subject and the rendering are also closely related to the work of contemporary Attic vase painters, who often showed Eros with either Aphrodite or a bride being prepared for her nuptials. The composition of the figures together with the fine details and the impression of sculptural weight make this a diminutive masterpiece of the high Classical period.
De Ricci, Seymour. 1912. Catalogue of a Collection of Ancient Rings Formed by the Late E. Guilhou. no. 295 , Paris.

Sotheby & Co. 1937. Superb Collection of Rings. November 9–12, 1937. lot 84, pl. 4.

Boardman, John. 1970. Greek Gems and Finger Rings: Early Bronze Age to Late Classical. no. 527Bo, London: Thames and Hudson, London.

Boardman, John and Diana Scarisbrick. 1977. The Ralph Harari Collection of Finger Rings. pp. 15–16, fig. 8, London: Thames and Hudson, London.

von Bothmer, Dietrich, Carlos A. Picón, Joan R. Mertens, Elizabeth J. Milleker, and Ariel Herrmann. 1995. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1994–1995." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 53(2): p. 11.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1995. "One Hundred Twenty-fifth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 1994 through June 30, 1995." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 125: p. 16.

Jackson, Monica. 2006. Hellenistic Gold Eros Jewellery: Technique, Style and Chronology, BAR International Series. pl. 26(A), 16, Oxford: Archaeopress.

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