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image M193

The lid of a cinerary urn: a reclining female figure

Grey Greek island marble

Height: 17cm
Length: 36cm
Length (figure): 31cm
Width: 19cm

Museum number: M193

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 319help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

A female figure reclines to the left with left leg crossed under the right. She is propped up on two pillows and wears a sleeved undergarment, sleeveless chiton, and a long mantle or himation-like garment which is wrapped across her legs and waist, behind her shoulders, and over her left arm. Her right arm rests on her right thigh, and the left hand once held a wreath near her side. The details of the couch: carved ends, frame, corner posts, and central under-support are carved in relief above the line where the lid joined the body.

Compare the draped, male (?) figure from a similar type of lid in the Museo Chiaramonti1 which is considered "insignificant work"; an additional idea for the source of our lid may lie in the quite similar cinerary urn fragment with a reclining male draped figure reproduced by Piranesi in Antichità Romane, vol. III, plate XXVII and Windsor Drawings A.44 (Michaelis V), no.8457ff. which show similar and now probably lost lids from the Rome area2. These small cinerary urns transmitted the sculptural idea of the reclining deceased from Etruscan urns through the first two centuries of the Roman empire to the composition as seen on large later Second and Third Century sarcophagi.

1 W. Amelung, Die Skulpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin, Volume 1, 1903, p. 662f., no. 533, pl. 70.
2 For the various interpretations of the origin, development, and significance of this representation of the repose of the dead, see F.V.M. Cumont, Recherches sur le symbolisme funéraire des Romains, Paris, 1942, Ch. V, II, pp. 388-456.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Collection of John Flaxman, R.A; ..... . This lid is probably B.M., Franks (Dal Pozzo-Albani) I, fol. 143, no. 160, labelled: "In Frascati nella Vigna di Arigoni, ora di Versci".

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