Engraved Gem [Antinous]

Signed by Giovanni Pichler, or Luigi Pichler1750 - 1850

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The wreath of leaves and flowers on the head of the young man depicted on this gem is tied with ribbons, one of which falls down his neck and over one shoulder. Antinous, the Roman youth in this portrait, was the beloved companion of the emperor Hadrian. In A.D. 130 Antinous drowned in the Nile river; he was subsequently deified by Hadrian, and Antinous' popular cult spread throughout the Empire. The bust on this gem replicates a detail from a Roman relief sculpture showing Antinous as the personification of Spring. The relief, discovered in 1735 in the ruins of Hadrian's villa, is now in the Villa Albani in Rome.

The signature in Greek of the artist Pichler appears behind the bust of Antinous. The name was inscribed backwards so that it would be legible when the gem served as a seal and the design was stamped into a soft material such as wax. Pichler is the family name of four distinguished Italian craftsmen, working principally in Rome from about the 1780s to the 1850s. Gem-cutters like the Pichlers, who worked in the classical style, usually signed their names in Greek.

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  • Title: Engraved Gem [Antinous]
  • Creator: Signed by Giovanni Pichler, or Luigi Pichler
  • Date: 1750 - 1850
  • Location Created: Europe
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Chalcedony
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California, Bequest of Eli Djeddah
  • Object Type: Gem
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 83.AL.257.17
  • Inscription: Inscribed in the field behind the head, in Greek letters: PICHLER (the name of the artist).
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Antiquities
  • Culture: Modern
  • Credit Line: Bequest of Eli Djeddah
  • Classification: Jewelry