art history geekery

Allow us to present Zeus Ammon, a particularly cool variant of Zeus who incorporates elements of the ancient Egyptian god Amun. Zeus has his usual full beard and curling hair, but also a ram’s horn, which you can see emerging handsomely from the left side of his head.

Engraved Roman gem of Zeus Ammon set into a modern ring. Nephrite and gold. The J. Paul Getty Museum

PS: If this nephrite looks like jade, that’s because it is. Nephrite is one of two metamorphic rocks commonly called jade; the other is, naturally, jadeite.

Heraldry buffs, we need your help. Do you know anything about the coat of arms on the right side of this artwork? Getty curator Bryan Keene has identified the coats of arms in the show Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance but is stumped on this object, on loan from San Francisco.

Detail of a childbirth Tray (desco da parto) with Justice (verso), about 1380–1400, Lorenzo di Niccolò (possibly by the Master of the Lazzaroni Madonna). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Museum purchase, Roscoe and Margaret Oakes Income Fund, 78.78. © Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco