11⁄16 in. (1.7 cm.) diameter
Please note this lot is the property of a private individual.
Giorgio Sangiorgi (1886-1965), Rome, acquired and brought to Switzerland, late 1930s; thence by continuous descent to the current owner.
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The highly convex circular stone with a concave back is engraved with Eros gripping the reigns of a restive rearing horse. The plump childlike god is depicted nude, standing on a groundline in three-quarter view with his head turned frontally, his wings raised. He has long, center-parted hair with a central plate over the top of his head. His hands are raised, gripping the reins of the horse. His chlamys is gathered on a rocky outcrop to the right. The stone is mounted as a ring in a 19th century gold setting.
The shape of the stone and the type of drill-work associate this gem with others from Campania dating to the Roman Republic. While Eros is one of the most common subjects on Roman gems, only very few exist with him gripping the reins of a horse in the composition seen here. For a glass gem of similar shape, date and subject, now in Gőttingen, see no. 43 in P. Zazoff, et al., Antike Gemmen in Deutschen Sammlungen, Band III, Braunschweig, Gőttingen, Kassel.