Garas Klára szerk.: A Szépművészeti Múzeum közleményei 62-63. (Budapest, 1984)


VIVAS IJV DEO The two objects to be discussed are apparently only linked through their date and by a generally widespread goodwish formula; their co-publication can nonetheless underline their importance in Late Antique — Early Christian art. The first is a hitherto unpublished gold ring (figs. 24—25). 1 Its hoop is a wide band, both ends of which widen slightly. It has a round box setting made of a thin sheet; it probably had some core of different material which sub­sequently shrank since the thin foil with a relief on top shows indentations in several places. The raised edge of the box bordered with a thick incised wire imitating a bead row, is folded over the medallion. The plain hoop was sol­dered onto the two sides of the box, with a granule above and below the hoop at the junction. An embossed relief depicting the bust of a man can be seen on the medallion; the portrait was set into the box with its axis slightly to the left. The bust is almost frontal; the ears are also depicted. The left ear, the mouth and the left shoulder are deformed owing to the above-mentioned inden­tation. The arcs of the eyebrows meet above the eyes which look forward. The dense mass of hair, combed forward, is proportioned with finely incised lines. The man is clad in a chlamys with a sleeved, chequered tunica underneath; on the right shoulder, the cloak is fastened with a fibula, the shape of which cannot be determined. The type and technique of the ring offer but general starting points for its dating. 2 A study of the style of the relief can be of further aid. At first glance the bust is reminiscent of the Constantine classicism which had evolved from an opposition to the expressive tendencies of the tetrarchy period and in which the lucidity and self-controlled clarity of form were put into the service of a new, more spiritual and — at least in court art — a more hieratical attitude. If, however, the relief of the ring is compared more closely with representative portraits of the Constantine era, such as the figures of the friezes from the Arch of Constantine, the monumental marble head of the Palazzo dei 1 Inv. No.: 55.41; unknown provenance. H. of hoop (in the centre of the back): 0.45 cm; diam. (largest width): 2.39 cm; depth (with setting): 2.47 cm; diam. of bezel (with frame): 1.65 cm; diam. of relief medallion: 1.34 cm; weight of ring: 10.99 gr. 2 See especially Marshall, F. H.: Catal. Finger Rings, Br. Mus. London, 1907. no. 273, pi. 7. Farther parallels: Naumann, F.: Antiker Schmuck. Kassel, 1980. 58, no. 142, pl. 26; Rudolph, W. and E.: Ancient Jewelry from the Coll. of B. Y. Berry. Bloomington, 1973. 199, no. 159/c; Marshall : op. cit. no. 513, pi. 14 („the type is perhaps Merowingian") ; Ross, M. C: Catal. of the Byzantine and Early Medieval Antiquities in the Dumbarton Oaks Coll. II. Washington 1965. 138, pi. 99, Q („6th century").