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image M1129

Fragment of a cyma recta profile moulding

Post 14 AD
Early in the post-Augustan period.

Italian marble

Height: 16cm
Width: 65cm
Thickness: 8cm

Museum number: M1129

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 88help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

This fragment is probably the top member of a Roman cornice, with a series of rather straggly honeysuckle flower patterns with linked bottom leaves above a bead and reel moulding. There is a fragment of the same cornice in the Museo Chiaramonti of the Vatican1. It is probably from a tomb monument and can be dated very early in the post-Augustan period when this type of bead and reel was common. There are very good parallels for this style of cyma enrichment. An earlier, monumental use of a form of this decorative motive can be seen in the cresting-strip of the cornice of the lower order of the Basilica Aemilia, as re-erected near the Via Dell'Imperio entrance to the Foro Romano2. For similar work (flowered palmette patterns from a circular tomb) compare the frieze-moulding of the circular tomb from Vicovaro as re-erected in the Lateran Museum3.

The linked, honeysuckle-palmette architectural enrichment developed in a colossal and more complex manner can be seen on a frieze from the Basilica Ulpia area (now lying against the wall of the South Side of the Foro Traiano; compare also the altered derivation in the Lateran4). This, with several other motives, including the stopped striation enrichment shows the carrying over of first century decorative designs to the early second century, whereas the capitals of the Foro Traiano already look ahead, in their experimentation with composite motives5, to the Hadrianic villa period. The Hellenic antecedents of this imperial decorative motive may be judged by comparison with a cyma block from the Apollo temple at Phigaleia6.

1 No. 23; 2034, Amelung, VC, I, nos. 612a (632), pl. 78.
2 Romanelli, The Roman Forum, p. 67, fig. 6.
3 Arch. Anz., 1935, co. 342; NB the contents of the Lateran Museum have been, since 1970, transferred to the Vatican.
4 Gusman, AD, I, pl. 22.
5 On the architectural decoration of the Foro Traiano, Leon, Trajansforum, 1971, especially on the capitals pp. 50-59.
6 Acta Archaeologica (Copenhagen), VII, 2-3, 1936, p.232, no.6, fig. 4.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Presumably from Rome (see below).


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