Roman Cornelian Intaglio with the nymph Galatea, goddess of calm seas
1st century A.D.
Gold (18th century)
W: 2.25 cm
Dia: 2.8 cm (US size 7)
This Roman gold ring radiates of the Hellenistic gemstone tradition. The ovoid red cornelian gemstone is finely engraved with a delicate female bust in profile, with curly long hair, whose locks fall onto her shoulders. The structure of her hairstyle is attested and well illustrated in the nymph Galatea, goddess of calm seas.
Galatea (or Galateia) was one of the daughters of Nereus and Doris. (Hom. Il. xviii. 45; Hes. Theog. 251.). Acis was beloved by the nymph Galatea, and Polyphemus the Cyclops, jealous of him, crushed him under a boulder. His blood gushing from under the rock was changed by the nymph into the river Acis at the foot of mount Aetna.
The gemstone is fitted in an 18th century golden bezel held up by two beautiful mermaids.
Felix Feuardent (1819-1907) collection, Paris, prior to 1907; thence by descent; Ex- Swiss private collection. Félix-Bienaimé Feuardent began collecting in the mid-19th century. He passed his collection down to his children, and, eventually, grandchildren.
La Beaute Miniature, ArtPassions, numéro 12, December 2007, p. 78