Giovanni & Luigi Pichler 1790 Rare Carved Amber Intaglio Mounted in 18Kt Ring
Important carved intaglio ring by Giovanni or Luigi Pichler (1773-1854).
Fabulous and extremely rare intaglio seal piece, created in Europe by the Pichler's Atelier in the late 18th century, circa 1790-1800. It was carved in an oval cabochon cut shape, from a single piece of natural translucent Amber of about 10 carats.
Mounted in an early 19th Century neo-classic ring crafted in solid 18 karats white gold. The flanks and borders of the ring's setting are decorated, with organics motifs characteristics from the period.
The seal depicts the profile of the naked portrait of the Roman goddess Venus, (Aphrodite) facing to the right, with a bow and decorations in the hair. Is signed at the lower left, Pichler in Greek (ΠΙΧΛΕΡ), for Giovanni or Luigi Pichler (1773-1854).
Head of Venus de Milo, Greek 150 BC
In Roman mythology, Venus was the goddess of love, sex, beauty, and fertility. She was the Roman counterpart to the Greek goddess Aphrodite. However, Roman Venus had many abilities beyond the Greek Aphrodite; she was a goddess of victory and fertility.
Weight: 7.1 Grams (4.55 Dwt.)
Size: 5.25, sizeable.
Measures: 21 mm by 25.6 mm (0.82 by 1.01 Inches).
Marks: (ΠΙΧΛΕΡ), for Giovanni or Luigi Pichler (1773-1854).
Anton Pichler [Pikler] (Austria 1697-1779 Rome) Was the patriarch of the Pichler (ΠΙΧΛΕΡ) empire. He was an Austrian-German gemcutter who migrated to Naples, and then to Rome in 1743, where he was known as Antonio and gained great fame for the precision-beauty of his craft. Antonio trained his son Giovanni Pichler (1734-1791) as a worthy successor. Then in 1773 after he was past 75 Antonio fathered another son, Luigi-39 years the junior of Giovanni, his half-brother. Luigi Pichler was still a small child when Antonio died, but loyal Giovanni saw him raised as another worthy successor and accomplished artist. Luigi then carried forward the family business of classically-inspired luxury gem-cutting in Rome until his retirement in 1850, more than 100 years after his own father had founded the Pichler house.
Giovanni Pichler (Naples 1734-1791 Rome) was born in Naples Italy and trained by his father Antonio Pichler in the art of gem engraving in Rome. In 1769 he was appointed gem engraver to Emperor Joseph II in Vienna. Pichler's fame rapidly increased and he became a favorite of Grand Tourists. He also trained a number of the most famous engravers of the next generation including Filippo Rega and Antonio Berini. Upon his death in 1791 his workshop was inherited by his half brother Luigi Pichler. He went on to work for the Habsburg Imperial family in Vienna and so impressed the French court jeweler François-Régnault Nitot that the latter tried to persuade him to move to Paris. Luigi received many distinctions later in life including a diploma from the Academy of St Luke and membership of the Academy in Venice, as well as, in 1839, Knight's Cross of the Order of St Gregory the Great and, in 1842, of the Order of St Sylvester. He cut, after 15 years, a Hercules in Combat with the Nemean lions, a generally admired piece. His gems, both recessed and embossed, are of outstanding clarity and sharpness and he was one of the most sought-after engravers of his age, leaving him with a prolific 379 pieces to his name. He also worked in pastel painting. In 1790 he produced a catalogue of 200 examples of his work.
Luigi Pichler (Rome 1773-1854 Rome), was a member of the celebrated family of German-Italian gem engravers, studied under his father Anton Pichler and his elder half-brother Giovanni. Towards the end of the 18th century, he visited Austria where he attracted wide foreign patronage and in 1808 was presented to Emperor Francis I in Vienna. In 1818 he was appointed Professor of Gem Engraving at Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna, a post he held until 1850 before retiring to Rome. He was known for his contemporary portraits and "his preferred medium was intaglio distinguished by exquisite polish and often executed in gemstones rather than the more usual hardstones" (Grove Dictionary of Art). Like all members of his family and according to common practice of the day, he signed his work in various ways, including his name, last name (ΠΙΧΛΕΡ) and initials in Greek and Roman letters. He turned back to Rome in 1850, where he died in 1854.
About the signature of this piece, we are citing as a reference, a text from the catalogue of the Hull Grundy Gift (Gere et al 1984) no 834: This form of signature was used by both Giovanni and his half-brother Luigi. The style of the intaglio suggests a late eighteenth-century date, and an attribution to a late work by Giovanni, is consistent with other gems from his hand, but Luigi was taught by his half-brother and took over his unfinished work in 1791. Dalton says of Giovanni: “.... they can be very much alike ... when ... Luigi Pichler copied one of Giovanni's gems and signed in the same way as his brother, it is difficult to be sure which of the two was actually the artist.” Rollett (1874) lists only two intaglios of this subject, both as by Giovanni (no's 54 & 55), so it seems safe to assume that this gem was cut by him. An account of Giovanni's life was published in Rome the year after his death (see de Rossi 1792). (Charlotte Gere).
Chronology of the Pichler's signatures:
Giovanni Pichler (1734-1791) ΠΙΧΛΕΡ
Luigi Pichler (1773-1854) Λ.ΠΙΧΛΕΡ (note the addition of the L in Greek).
Literature: Dr. Hermann. Rollett, “Die Drei Meister der Gemmoglyptc, Antonio, Giovanni und Luigi Pichler”, Vienna, W. Braumüller 1874, page 65, No 133. for an almost identical piece. Duffield Osbourne “Engraved Gems” H. Holt & company,1912 Plate XXXI number 4, for similar examples.
Related Bibliography: Dr. Hermann. Rollett, “Die Drei Meister der Gemmoglyptik: Antonio, Giovanni and Luigi Pichler” Vienna, W. Braumüller, 1874. For his biography. R. Distelberger, “Luigi Pichler' in 'Österrechisches Biographisches Lexikon”, Vol 36, Vienna 1979. For similar pieces. L. Forrer, "Biographical Dictionary of Medallists", Volume VIII, Spinks & Son, London 1930, Pp-126-127. For Inventories. Gabriella Tassinari, “Lettere di una celebre famiglia di incisori di pietre dure : i pichler”. article 2005. Gabriela Tassinari, "I ritratti dei viaggiatori del Grand Tour sugli intaglio ed i cammei di Giovanni Pichler", in Bollettino del Centro Interuniversitario di ricerche sul viaggio in Italia; 26:1 (2005), Pp. 11-79. Lippold, Gemmen und Kameen des Altertums und der Neuzeit, Stuttgart, 1922, pl. CXXVII, no. 7; B. Baumgärtel,Angelica Kaufmann (1741-1807), exh. cat. Kunstmuseum, Dusseldorf; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Bündner Kunstmuseum, Chur, 1998, pp. 338-9. L. Bignamini, C. Hornsby, Digging And Dealing In Eighteenth-Century Rome (2010), Pp 316-317. Seidmann, "The Grand Tourist's favourite souvenirs: cameos and intaglios", in RSA Journal (1996), Pp. 63-66. Catalogo di impronti cavati da gemme incise dal Cavaliere Giovanni Pichler ... (1790).
Collections: The British Museum, London, UK. Ref: No1978,1002.444. The Victoria & Albert Museum, London UK, Ref: No M.218-1962, The Corning Museum of Glass, New York, NY. Ref: No 2012.3.12, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD. Ref: No 42.203. The Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg Russia Ref: inv. No. K-1811. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA Ref: inv. No. 39.22.44.
Note: A plaster impression in high relief is included as pictured.
Note: The plaster cast impression of this gem engraving can be found in, Duffield Osbourne, “Engraved Gems”, H. Holt and company,1912 Plate XXXI number 4.
Note: The carving of this piece in natural Amber, it is a great discovery of the work done by the Pichler family, this is the only known piece carved in this material. It should be noted that Amber is a very difficult one to work in low reliefs due to the fragility of the material.
Note: An engraved gem, frequently referred to as an intaglio, is a small and usually semi-precious gemstones that has been carved, in the western tradition normally with images or inscriptions only on one face. The engraving of gemstones was a major luxury art form in the ancient world, and an important one in some later periods.
This is an extremely rare piece, it is in great condition and the intaglio carving are perfect.
INVENTORY REF: R0000CNNB/.1682