Description 18th-century gem carvers sometimes depicted ancient subjects to appeal to gem collectors with antiquarian tastes. This intaglio portrays Asclepius, Greek god of medicine and healing, in profile. Asclepius’s attribute, a serpent entwined around a rod, appears at left. The symbol, which continues to be used in medicine today, has generated different interpretations, but it could be read as a symbol of renewal, as snakes shed their skins. This gem was part of the duke of Marlborough’s famous collection in England.
Examined in preparation for exhibition.
An impression was made of the intaglio for purposes of exhibition. The object was cleaned afterward.
- Jewelry - Ancient to Modern. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1979-1980.
- Madame de Pompadour, Patron and Printmaker. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2016.
Provenance Collection of the Duke of Marlborough, no. 251; Henry Walters, New York [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Sadie Jones (Mrs. Henry Walters), New York, 1931, by inheritance; Sale, Joseph Brummer, New York, 1942; Walters Art Museum, 1942, by purchase.
Credit Museum purchase [formerly part of the Walters Collection], 1942
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