This exhibition introduces an old and forgotten art—engraving, or glyptics. The first stone-engraved cylindrical seals were made in the Middle East around the year 3500 BC. Improvements on it, flat ring seals, were used in Mesopotamia and Assyria, and from there they spread to Crete and other islands of the Aegean Sea, Greece and later—Italy. These gemstones have been valued through centuries for their valuable material and attractive images, but started to receive more attention again during the Modern Age, when they were researched and systemised, and when new gemstones were began to be made, including many falsifications of antique ones.
The exhibition is dedicated to the 250th anniversary of the birth of Johann Karl Simon Morgenstern, professor of rhetoric, classical philology, aesthetics, literary and art history, who acquired over 17,000 casts of gems for the art museum to illustrate lectures.
Curated by: Jaanika Anderson
Designed by: Mari Kurismaa
Graphic solution authored by: Mari Kaljuste
The exhibition is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia