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image M1128

Pediment from a funerary monument, perhaps the end of the gabled roof of a 'Greek'-type sarcophagus

Pentelic marble

Height: 31cm
Width: 58cm
Thickness: 12cm

Museum number: M1128

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 314help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

Within the pediment are twin winged Victoriae, in long chitons, supporting a large, filleted wreath between them. The pediment is flanked by two (?)lion-pawed griffins seated facing outwards at the corners, and set on a double, stepped moulding.

The piece is too broken (and possibly re-finished on the back) for experts to be say definitely which of two closely allied funerary uses (pediment or gable end) precisely defines the original location of this piece. A stylistic comparison is provided by a small sarcophagus in the Conservatori1 in the centre of which appears 'a laurel crown supported by two Victories arranged heraldically on each side of it', and also by another attractive later second century small sarcophagus with two flying Victoriae2 supporting a filleted wreath between sleeping Genii (also see entry in this catalogue for M1025 (Vermeule 178) in the nave of S. Maria Antiqua, Rome. For the symbolism of Winged Victories on a Greek-type garlanded sarcophagus in Baltimore, see Lehman, Hartleben and Olsen pp. 43-44, 47-49. The gabled roof and pediment with acroteria, and decorated with palmettes, etc. is illustrated in figs. 19-22. For the general idea in an alternative funerary connection, compare this Soane fragment with the gabled top of the cinerary altar of Vitalis in the Terme Museum in Rome.3

The sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455) copied the motive in the Renaissance as the enframement for the inscription plate on the bronze Reliquary of SS Protius and Hyacinthus, now in the Bargello, Florence (Photo Ed. Brogi, 9683).

1 The British School at Rome, Catalogue of ancient sculptures preserved in the municipal collections of Rome: The sculptures of the Palazzo dei Conservatori, ed. H.S. Jones, Oxford, 1926, p. 88, no. 24b, pl. 32.
2 For the symbolism of Victories on the Greek type garland sarcophagus in Baltimore, see K. Lehmann-Hartleben and E.C. Olsen, Dionysiac Sarcophagi in Baltimore, Baltimore, M.D., 1942, pp. 43-44, 47-49.
3 W. Altmann, Die römischen Grabaltäre der Kaiserzeit, Berlin, 1905, p. 146, fig. 119; cf. especially the top of the large grave altar in the Cloisters of the same museum, no. 33996.

Provenance help-art-provenance


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