intaglio

Roman Intaglio of Daedalus and Icarus, 1st Century AD

A Roman 1st-century master created this gem showing the legendary master inventor Daedalus and his son Icarus. Escaping persecution by King Minos of Crete, Daedalus made wings of birds’ feathers attached together with wax. Before making their flight he warned his son not to fly too close to the sun, but Icarus could not resist going ever higher until the sun melted the wax and Icarus fell into the sea, where he was drowned. We see the making of the wings: Daedalus is seated at a table putting the finishing touches to his work. Icarus stands before him with one wing already attached to his back.