Glyptics is the art of precious and semiprecious stone carving known since antiquity. But it reached its fullest flower in the culture of the ancient world.
One of the archaeologists of the 19th century called relief cameos carved on extra-hard minerals 'stone painting'. Long ago, up to Alexander Makedonsky's Eastern campaigns (the second half of the 4th century B.C.) masters preferred to make deep carving and created miniature relieves in loam and wax. The first cameos were cut form one-colour material, such as garnet, jacinth, amethyst:Bright 'cheerful' combination of flickering stones and brilliant gold rim attracted everybody's attention.
But very soon carvers went over applying multi-layered minerals what let them use more colours and tints for creation of different shades. The first cameos made of multi-layered agates were carved in Alexandria, at Ptolemeys court (the end of the 4th - 3d centuries B.C.). Many of them were too big to be stamped and used as an amulet. Things made of such agates to order served as regal gifts in temples or were decoration of luxuriant head-dresses of rulers.
An agate is harder than steel, that's why carvers had to use harder minerals as an abrasive. Turning dusty corundum or a diamond was cutting into the surface of a stone and carved a picture. Like constant dropping wears away the stone, an abrasive peeled off an agate. Intricate interchange of coats appeared in the course of work, so it was impossible to change anything. So carvers performed a real feat. Large cameos resemble 'agate pictures' and craftsmen spent several years on them. The archaeologist E.Bablon said that creation of a big cameo required as much time as the creation of a Gothic cathedral. For example, in the 19th century the carver A.David spent 15 years to make the cameo 'Napoleon's triumph'!
The difficulty of work was that dusty abrasive covered the whole picture and a foreman had to work from memory, almost at random. To look at the best ancient cameos we can see that an experienced craftsman managed to overcome these difficulties so that perfect samples reminded good paintings in which all the chatoyant colours and contrasts of dots seemed natural in the mineral itself.
Ancient masters often used either an Arabian sardonyx with its colour scheme of cold grey and blue colours or an Indian one in which warm brown and red tints prevailed. Anonymous Alexandria carvers of the 3d century B.C. employed all decorative means, they made their works plastic, expressive and colourful so that they became masterpieces of Hermitage's collection.
Buffing the surface of a stone in different ways they made a helmet shimmer like metal and human face preserve dulling of flesh:.Changing the thickness of the mineral's upper light coat a craftsman like a painter who uses glaze techniques made the lower dark coat appear through it. It made an impression of light and shade modeling, with the help of tints a colour scheme of two- and three-coated agate and sardonyx was constantly enriching.
Glyptics is the oldest art of stone carving which got its rise nowadays. In the course of time this kind of art was meant only for rich people, connoisseurs of art.
Oleg Galatin, like some of his few colleagues have no followers. A circle of potential exquisite miniatures owners is not large. The creative work of Oleg Ivanovich, glyptics, is the art of precious and semiprecious stone carving. Oleg Galatin is one of few today's masters busy with this craft. The master's gemmas are often exhibited in foreign countries: Germany, Singapore, Hungary. A number of the masterpieces are kept in Kiev museums, Saint-Petersburg Hermitage, the Armory Museum in Moscow Kremlin, the Municipal Florentine Museum and private collections.
Blue aquamarine, smoky topaz or rock crystal perfectly fit in necklaces, ear-rings, brooches and rings. You can be sure it is the author's work. It is unique!
An exclusive Galatins'work is A.S. Pushkin's portrait.
Entail on cut topaz of 1999 year. 1550 carat. 98х75 mm. The stone is of wine colour. Hardness according to Moos is 8, refractive exponent is Ng-Np 1.610-1.638, dispersion is 0,014.
It belongs to unique works of art.
Expertise is N 25/A of March, 13, 1999.
Those who had ever seen this stone, or held it in his arms, are impressed by its beauty and size. It is magnificent because of its striking coldness, warm colour and harmony:
Ice and flame! Unforgettable impression!