IMPORTANT CAMEO SHOWING THE PORTRAIT OF THE EMPRESS FURIA SABINA TRANQUILLINA Imperial Roman art, c. 240-250. On two-layered agate. 22 x 36 x 10 mm Complete and in excellent condition except for a few chips on the back side. Provenance Former private collection, acquired in 1970-1980 Then by descent, private collection, 1998 An important imperial roman two-layered agate cameo. Portrait of the Emperess Furia Sabina Tranquillina. Ca. 240-250 A.D. The portrait is turned to the left, and is characterized by its long features and pronounced profile. The mouth is fleshy and slightly half-open, the chin is small and rounded, the eye is large and absorbed, the forehead is low. The complex hairstyle of helfrisur type, is in keeping with the fashion of the 3rd century. The bust is draped and the folds of her dress finely engraved follow a "V" shaped geometry. The work is done with great technical skill and artistic mastery, the modelling of the anatomical volumes being soft, expressive and physiognomic. A cameo of this kind, of such large dimensions and quality, could certainly have been intended for a member of the imperial family, probably commissioned for an exceptional event. Given the close physical resemblance, both in the type of hairstyle but especially in the sharp profile, it is possible to associate this portrait with the effigy of the empress Tranquillina. There is little information on the life of Furia Sabina Tranquillina (c. 226 - c. 241). She was the wife of the emperor Gordian III. Tranquillina was the daughter of Gaius Furio Sabino Timesiteo and married Gordian in 241. The marriage with Tranquillina represented one of the central moments of Gordian's reign since it effectively sanctioned the representation of the wealthy classes who saw in Gordian III, the representative of an ancient family. It was perhaps on the occasion of his marriage that his cameo portrait was commissioned. Their marriage did not last long because Gordian died in 244 during the Parthian war. The young emperor was assassinated on February 25, 244 by the Praetorians at the instigation of Philip the Arab - who succeeded Timesiteo - he had reigned only six years. Scholars are inclined to believe that the marriage, though born of political interests, was nevertheless a union of feelings, and the proof of this would be the representations of the numerous coins minted in a short time. Parallels can indeed be found, as well as in statuary, precisely in numismatics.