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image M532

Fragment of a Roman sarcophagus front with a medallion mask and figure of Eros.

Proconnessian marble

Height: 36cm
Width: 33cm
Thickness: 13cm
Thickness (back panel): 10cm

Museum number: M532

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 307help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

Above a thick bottom fillet moulding is a diademed tragic mask with long, wavy hair in ringlets, pierced eye and mouth, facing left and carved out of a rough, broken away area to the left. From the right the skirt (the lower part of a belted tunic and bordered breeches)- wrapped leg and shod foot of a small figure are seen approaching the mask.

This piece appears to be a fragment of the right centre front of a large sarcophagus, perhaps the section just to the right of and below the clypeus-medallion portrait as in the 'Sarcophagus of the Four Seasons' in the Conservatori in Rome.1 The style of the leg and corner of costuming suggest a figure as figure D, 'Winter', in trousers and tunic (with hood covering his head and knotted on the chest). Jones cites as noteworthy in these type of Sarcophagi the 'chiastic arrangement of Seasons (Spring, Winter, Autumn, Summer) with the two seasons, Winter and Autumn, that forbode death, nearest the tomb and the Seasons, Spring and Summer, that symbolise resurrection, at either end'.2

1 The British School at Rome, Catalogue of ancient sculptures preserved in the municipal collections of Rome: The sculptures of the Palazzo dei Conservatori, H.S. Jones, Oxford, 1926 p. 72, no. 11, pl. 26.
2 The British School at Rome, Catalogue of ancient sculptures preserved in the municipal collections of Rome: The sculptures of the Palazzo dei Conservatori, H.S. Jones, Oxford, 1926 p. 50. Further bibliography on this class of Season Sarcophagus appears in G.M.A. Hanfmann, The Season Sarcophagus in Dumbarton Oaks, Cambridge (Mass.), 1951, passim and volume of plates; and in G. Pesce, Sarcophagi remani di Sardegna, Rome, 1957, pp. 66-68, under no. 27, figs. 56, 57, let into the architecture of the Cathedral at Cagliari.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Unrecorded


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