Oval gem with Omphale wearing the lion skin of Hercules

Italian
Neo-Classical
about 1800
Copied after Luigi Pichler (1773–1854), Or after Giovanni Pichler (1734–1791)


Dimensions

Length x width: 20 x 15 mm (13/16 x 9/16 in.)

Accession Number

62.1161

Medium or Technique

Glass paste

Not On View

Collections

Jewelry, The Ancient World

Classifications

Gems

Amber-colored glass paste cast. Intaglio. Flat front and back surfaces with a very slight inward back bezel. Omphale stands on a ground line, facing left. She wears the lion skin of Hercules draped over her shoulders, and all four paws, head, and tail are visible. She clutches his club with her left hand and grasps the skin with her right. She is otherwise nude. Her head is tilted down and one knee is bent.

A retrograde Greek inscription runs down the right edge of the gem in very tiny letters reading PIXLER (Pichler). The Pichlers were a family of renowned 18th and 19th century gem-cutters originally from Austria. The patriarch Antonio (Johann Anton) was a merchant who decided to devote himself to art after traveling to Italy, where he relocated to learn gem-engraving. His sons Giovanni, Giuseppe, and Luigi and grandson Giacomo continued his legacy by taking up the craft. Giovanni, the eldest, taught his two younger half-brothers after Antonio’s death. Luigi is generally regarded as the most distinguished artist of the family and received numerous honors from the popes and sovereigns of his day. Giovanni and Luigi were also painters.

Provenance

By 1962: Dr. L. Lahut Uzman Collection (according to his records: Bought: Jan. 16. 62. "Bedelle" 47 Bromfield Street [Boston]; 1962: inherited by Mrs. L. Lahut Uzman; December 12, 1962: one of the group of 20 gems (62.1145–62.1164) purchased by MFA from Mrs. L. Lahut Uzman for a total price of $ 2,200-

Credit Line

Theodora Wilbour Fund in memory of Zoë Wilbour