The term intaglio refers to a small image that has been engraved into a material, most commonly a gemstone. Such an artistic form has its origin in Sumer in the 4th millennium BC, with the appearance of cylinder and stamp seals, whereby decorations and patterns were engraved into soft stones. During the Hellenistic period and the early Roman Empire, the art of intaglio reached its apogee, with there being a steady decline in craftsmanship in late Imperial Rome, until a revival of interest with the Byzantine and during the Renaissance.
The subjects used for intaglios are diverse, with depictions of deities and mythical creatures being a favourite theme. Syncretic or pantheistic deities with attributes of multiple goddesses, including Minerva the goddess of war and wisdom, Victoria the personified goddess of victory, Ceres the goddess of the harvest and fertility, and Fortuna the goddess of fortune and prosperity, are one of the most popular types in the 2nd century AD.
To find out more about intaglios, please visit our relevant blog post: Engraved Gemstones in Ancient Rome.
To discover more about Roman deities, please visit our relevant blog post: Roman Gods in Mythology