A rare Italic banded agate intaglio mounted in an ancient gold ring. Iphigenia's sacrifice.
intaglio 13 x 14 mm; bezel 18 x 20 mm; ring internal size 17 x 20 mm; gr. 9,80
Agamemnon, facing left, is in the act of striking his daughter Iphigenia with a dagger, kneeling on the ground in front of a tree. In the scene Artemide intervenes, appearing on the left side carrying a deer protome. Ground line. Symbol of the "greatest test" to which a god can subject man, Iphigenia is one of the most tragic figures of the Greek myth. According to the version of Euripides' work (Iphigenia in Aulis), at the time of the sacrifice Iphigenia is replaced by Artemis with a hind. It is in fact precisely because he had previously killed a deer that was dear to her that Agamemnon was punished by Artemis. The goddess, however, after demonstrating her power, saves the girl and makes her his priestess. This rare intaglio shows this extraordinary mythological and allegorical scene at the same time, according to the Euripidean version. The work is conducted with great skill in the Italic-Republican Roman style. Attractive variety of banded agate. Slight wear marks. The beautiful gold frame, flat and ray-shaped engraved, is later, referable to the Byzantine-medieval production. Very good condition. Interesting case of glyptic reuse. A very similar specimen is found in the Thorvaldsen Museum, n. inv. I877 (Agamemnon sacrificing Iphigenia, roman republican ringstone, 3rd-1st century BC) and probably executed by the same engraver. Another very compelling comparison is found in Paoletti impressions in L.P.B. Stefanelli, The Paoletti Collection, vol. I, p. 123 n.22: La Cerva brought by Diana to the aid of Iffigenia, n. inv. MR24769, impression taken from carving in Furtwangler 1900, Table XXIV, 2; Cades 28, III E, 12. For comparisons on the subject: Red-figure crater, London, British Museum; fresco from Pompeii.
This lot is listed in an invoice from parisian gallery Mythes et Légendes by Michel Cohen in 1986, mentionning that the piece was formerly in Arthur Sambon (1867-1947) collection.
Intaglio: 2nd century B.C. Mounting: 11th-12th/ 14th century.