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The Fertility of Egypt

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Florence (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1480-1520 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This bronze plaque was made after an antique sardonyx relief known as the Tazza Farnese, formerly in the possession of the wealthy leading Florentine Lorenzo de'Medici (1449-1492) and now in the Museo Nazionale, Naples.

This plaquette depicts an allegory of the Nile, shown here as a beareded river-god holding a horn. In the foreground the goddess Isis is seated on a Sphinx, and behind her in the centre is her son Horus. On the right are two goddesses which could represent the seasons. Above fly two naked youths, the Estesian winds, bringing the summer rains that flood the Nile.

Physical description

Bronze plaquette depicting an allegory of the Nile; the river-god is seated on the left holding a horn. In the foreground, a female figure wearing the dress of a priestess of Isis and seated on a Sphinx, represents Euthenia the Goddess of Plenty. Behind her, in the centre, Triptolemus (Horus) strides to the left holding a primitive plough. On the right two female figures represents either the two branches of the Nile, or Spring and Autumn, the seasons in which the Nile overflows. Overhead fly two naked youths, the Etesian winds.

Place of Origin

Florence (made)


ca. 1480-1520 (made)




Diameter: 17 cm

Descriptive line

Plaquette, the fertility of Egypt; bronze. Italian ca. 1480-1520.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Cf. Kris, E. Meister und Meisterwerke der Steinschneidekunst in der italienischen Renaissance. Wien, 1929. I. p. 64.
Cf. Furtwängler, A. Die antike Gemmen. Leipzig-Berlin, 1900. II. p. 253.



Subjects depicted

Horn; River god; Goddess; Female; Youth; Nile


Plaques & Plaquettes; Myths & Legends


Sculpture Collection

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