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Royal Fake—A Collection of "Ancient" Gemstones for Prince Poniatowski
Date: Saturday March 28, 2009, at 2 pm
Location: Auditorium, Getty Villa
Admission: Tickets required. Please call



In 1816, Crown Prince Stanislaw Poniatowski of Poland commissioned a group of gem cutters to engrave 2,611 precious stones with scenes from ancient literature, and in 1830, he proudly published them as genuine examples of "ancient" art. The high quality of these neoclassic miniatures corresponded to the taste of the educated high society of the time, and even museums and collectors acquired them as authentic ancient artifacts. Gertrud Platz-Horster, former vice-director of the Collection of Antiquities, Berlin, surveys this collection of royal fake gems and explores how the engraver Giovanni Calandrelli mastered the art of imitating ancient gem cutting.