Oval gem with Bellerophon mastering Pegasus

Roman
Late Republican Period
about 50–30 B.C.


Catalogue Raisonné

Lewes House Gems, no. 135 (1920; 2002, additional published references).

Dimensions

Overall: 2.9 x 1.7 x 2.2 cm (1 1/8 x 11/16 x 7/8 in.) Overall (gem, as preserved): 1.6 x 1.8 cm (5/8 x 11/16 in.)

Accession Number

27.737

Medium or Technique

Carnelian

On View

Anne and Blake Ireland Gallery (Gallery 210A)

Collections

Jewelry, The Ancient World

Classifications

Gems

Brownish-red carnelian (also called sard). Intaglio, set in modern gold ring. The hero Bellerophon stands nude, facing left, his legs and feet braced as he struggles with the winged horse Pegasus. His left foot is frontal and his right leg is bent at the knee; his chlamys (cloak) flutters behind him. To Bellerophon’s right, Pegasus is forced almost into a seated position, his body foreshortened and his rear legs splayed. The figures are positioned on a ground line. The upper third of the gem is missing and the outer part of the hero’s left foot is broken away. The fragmentary inscription reads, in Greek, “URIDOU.” It has been reconstructed as “Dioskourides,” the name of a famous gem engraver.

Inscription

[ ]ΥΡΙΔΟΥ

Signed

DIOSKURIDES

Provenance

According to J. D. Beazley, The Lewes House Collection of Ancient Gems, no. 135: found in 1918 by a man working in a vigna in Rome and passed through two dealers before being purchased by Edward Perry Warren in Rome in 1919; April 5, 1926: loaned to MFA by Edward Perry Warren (as 81.26); November 17, 1927: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren for $ 161,000.00 (this figure is the total price for MFA 27.647-27.761)

Credit Line

Francis Bartlett Donation of 1912