Intaglio with Sacrificial Scene
Delicately carved carnelian representing a classical scene inspired by medieval goldsmith and gem-engraver Valerio Belli (c. 1468-1546).
Flat, disc-shaped intaglio of carnelian with beveled edge on the reverse. Engraved on the obverse is an ancient sacrificial scene with eleven male and female figures surrounding the central garlanded altar with vase. The figure on the left is holding a wreath over the altar. Seen in the background is the pediment of a temple and to the right the goddess Victory hovers over the scene holding a wreath.
The scene goes back to a chalcedony intaglio made by the gem-engraver, medalist, and goldsmith Valerio Belli (c. 1468-1546) in the Museo degli Argenti, Florence. The intaglio was identified as being by Belli in 1799. Plaquettes of this scene exist in various metals, e.g. lead in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich (inv. 16/481). The gem-engraver of the eighteenth century will have been inspired by either the original intaglio or a plaquette by Belli. For the Belli intaglio, see: Riccardo Gennaioli. Le gemme dei Medici al Museo degli Argenti. Cammei e Intagli, Guinti Editore 2007, pp. 365, no. 492.