A rare Renaissance agate carnelian intaglio, attribuited to Valerio Belli. Erotic scene.
24 x 34 X 6 mm
In the center: a phallic herm in profile, with the head of a satyr and the erect phallus upwards. To the right: a naked woman with long hair, in a strong ecstasy, bends backwards and spreads her legs to receive fellatio from a young man; this is seated on the ground and leans with his left hand, showing the back and neck of three - quarters in a powerfully Michelangelesque pose (pose of the ignudo from the Sistine Chapel, later much taken up by the Mannerist artists). To the left: a second female figure with long hair is in the grip of ecstatic fury and leans with a knee on a rocky ridge in front of the phallic herm (adoring pose), bending the head and torso backwards and raising an arm (holding an attribute with the hand).
Below, the VB signature and the date in Roman letters: MDXX (1520).
In the scene the erotic fury, referable to the maenads, and the pleasure of oral intercourse is expressed with great vigor. Work of difficult execution and unusual for the Renaissance glyptic panorama, apparently of great rarity. The carving is performed with great technical skill, with particular attention: to the twisting poses, to the anatomical details of the sculpted bodies, to the expertly polished mirror polishing. Slightly convex and large size setting. Attractive vivid color of the stone, in tune with the scene. The attribution to the famous engraver Valerio Belli Vicentino (1468-1546) is suggestive and plausible, known for carvings of a predominantly religious theme performed for prestigious clients (for the official orders reported by the sources). The taste for extreme erotic divertissement with explicit sex scenes (of Greek-Roman inspiration) is also present in the Renaissance repertoire in the graphic production of great artists, as in the case of Giulio Romano ("I Modi"). In the case of this carnelian intaglio the stylistic rendering and the sometimes acrobatic poses of the characters are no stranger to the "vicentino" engraver. In particular, the male figure of Michelangelesque inspiration recurs in his repertoire (V. Belli, Ercole al Bivio, placchetta in bronzo, fusione, Londra, Victoria and Albert Museum cat. 124.6). Rare.
First decades of the 16th century.