Intaglio with Bust of Antinous

Unknown (Roman)AD 131–138

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

This gem depicts Antinous, the young companion and lover of Emperor Hadrian (AD 117-138), who drowned in the River Nile during their visit to Egypt in AD 130. The grief-stricken emperor instituted a cult in honor of the youth, who was revered as a semi-divine hero. Antinous is shown here in profile facing to the left; a fibula pins his chlamys in place at his left shoulder. Over his right shoulder, he carries a hunting spear. Behind his left shoulder is a fragmentary vertical inscription written in retrograde Greek letters, beginning ΑΝΤΟ…, perhaps the name of the gem engraver. The intaglio is fragmentary; a portion of the bust, fibula, and drapery have been restored in gold as part of a more modern mount.


  • Title: Intaglio with Bust of Antinous
  • Creator: Unknown (Roman)
  • Date Created: AD 131–138
  • Physical Dimensions: 3.5 × 2.9 cm (1 3/8 × 1 1/8 in.)
  • External Link: Object Record
  • Medium: Black chalcedony set in a modern gold mount
  • Object Creditline: The J. Paul Getty Museum

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