Oval gem with bust of a middle-aged man

Neo-Classical Period
About 1800


Length: 17 x 13.46 mm (11/16 x 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Jewelry, The Ancient World



Orange carnelian. Intaglio. Flat front and back surfaces with very slight inward front bezel, straight edge, and inward back bezel giving the impression of a rounded edge. The bust of a middle-aged man faces in profile to left. His furrowed brow is wrinkled and his eyebrow is arched. Both the upper and lower eyelids are distinct and his nostril is visible. His chin is rounded and protrudes slightly. The man’s hair is styled in short locks. A small bit of drapery wraps around his neck and falls on his shoulder. The gem is highly polished. The portrait on this gem has been varyingly said to resemble Cicero, Lucullus, Menander, and Virgil. However, these resemblances are not clear.


By date unknown: with Robert E. Hecht, Jr.; gift of Robert E. Hecht, Jr. to MFA, November 13, 1963

Credit Line

Gift of Robert E. Hecht, Jr. in memory of Lahut Uzman