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 subject matter on intaglios was varied and broad, with mythological figures, deities and daily life all represented. Bucolic and pastoral scenes from daily life were especially popular during the Flavian period, from the reign of Vespasian in AD 69 and ending with his second son Domitian in AD 96.
To find out more about intaglios, please visit our relevant blog post: Engraved Gemstones in Ancient Rome.