A Hardstone Cameo Ring by Giovanni Pichler (1734-1791)

Rome, c.1770


carved in a black and white layered sardonyx with a portrait of Alexander the Great in profile.

Signed: Π

Mounted in an 18th Century gold ring, circa 1780.

Ring size: P
Cameo: 2.2 cm x 1.7 cm

A plaster cast of this gem was taken for the impressions published by James Tassie and is listed as number 15536, described as ‘Agate Onyx Cameo, PICHLER.’ It also appears in the impressions collected by William Tassie after 1791 as number 3314, where it is described as ‘Cameo, Alexander by Pichler.’ Alexander the Great is depicted here as a fresh faced youth with an anastole and tainia knotted at the back of his head, an ancient Greek symbol associated with royalty.

The portrait is reminiscent of one which appears on ancient Greek coinage of the great Macedonian ruler and warrior after his death and Pichler is most likely to have derived his portrait from such a source. Alexander is not depicted here with the horns of Ammon.