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Comic mask held by Thalia the muse who presided over comedy and idyllic poetry. Behind the mask, Euterpe, protector of music, is portrayed with an aulos.

 

Marble sarcophagus

H. 129 cm; L. 265 cm; W. 130 cm.

280 - 290 AD.

From Rome

Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo – Roma - Inv. 80701

  

Detail of the tragedy mask, iconographic symbol of Melpomene, Muse of tragedy. Behind the mask, Euterpe, the muse presiding the music, is portrayed with an aulos.

 

Marble sarcophagus

H. 129 cm; L. 265 cm; W. 130 cm.

280 - 290 AD.

From Rome

Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo – Roma - Inv. 80701

 

Front of architectural sarcophagus decorated with the cycle of the nine muses. Six tortile columns with pseudo-Corinthian capitals divide the front surface in niches in which five muses stand out. Euterpe, holding an aulos, stands in the central niche; she is flanked, on the left, by Melpomene with a tragic mask, and, on the right, by Thalia with a comic mask; on the left end Erato is portrayed with the kithara, while, on the right, there is Terpsichore holding a plectrum. Euterpe's head is the only one preserved. In the three niches on each side a philosopher is represented in conversation with two muses: on the right side Urania and Polymnia, on the left side Clio and Calliope.

This sarcophagus, identified by the name " Mattei", enjoyed great fame already in the Renaissance period. In modern times, the discussion regarding the workshop location, either Greek-Eastern or urban, has become the main issue. Today, on the basis of stylistic evaluations, the sarcophagus is considered the work of an artist from Asia Minor who immigrated to Rome.

 

Source: Carlo Gasparri – Rita Paris, “ Palazzo Massimo alle Terme – Le Collezioni”

 

Marble sarcophagus

H. 129 cm; L. 265 cm; W. 130 cm.

280 - 290 AD.

From Rome

Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo – Roma - Inv. 80701

   

Front of architectural sarcophagus decorated with the cycle of the nine muses. Six tortile columns with pseudo-Corinthian capitals divide the front surface in niches in which five muses stand out. Euterpe, holding an aulos, stands in the central niche; she is flanked, on the left, by Melpomene with a tragic mask, and, on the right, by Thalia with a comic mask; on the left end Erato is portrayed with the kithara, while, on the right, there is Terpsichore holding a plectrum. Euterpe's head is the only one preserved. In the three niches on each side a philosopher is represented in conversation with two muses: on the right side Urania and Polymnia, on the left side Clio and Calliope.

This sarcophagus, identified by the name " Mattei", enjoyed great fame already in the Renaissance period. In modern times, the discussion regarding the workshop location, either Greek-Eastern or urban, has become the main issue. Today, on the basis of stylistic evaluations, the sarcophagus is considered the work of an artist from Asia Minor who immigrated to Rome.

 

Source: Carlo Gasparri – Rita Paris, “ Palazzo Massimo alle Terme – Le Collezioni”

 

Marble sarcophagus

H. 129 cm; L. 265 cm; W. 130 cm.

280 - 290 AD.

From Rome

Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo – Roma - Inv. 80701

   

Theatrical masks as pictorial decoration; from an ambulacrum of a villa presumably belonged to Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Roman general friend of Augustus.

The pictorial frieze is supported by painted elegant caryatids. Slender columns divide the frieze into panels decorated with theatrical masks, rural landscapes, herms, sacred buildings, marine scenes, sea battles and natural elements such as birds and flowers. The paintings are very elegant; according to Pliny the Elder, they are attributable to Studius, a painter active during Augustus' reign.

These frescoes come from a rich Roman house discovered in 1879 during the consolidation of the banks of the Tiber River. It was excavated in Rome, in the garden of the Sixteenth-century Villa della Farnesina, from which takes its name.

In the Augustan era, the building was a suburban villa and its construction is connected to events of Augustus' family. According to some scholars, the Roman villa was built on the occasion of the wedding of Vipsanius Agrippa and Augustus' niece Claudia Marcella (28 BC); according to other scholars, when Agrippa married Julia, daughter of the Princeps (19 BC).

 

Roman fresco

Late first century BC

From Rome, Villa della Farnesina garden

Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo – Roma - Inv. 1230

 

Theatrical masks as pictorial decoration; from an ambulacrum of a villa presumably belonged to Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Roman general friend of Augustus.

The pictorial frieze is supported by painted elegant caryatids. Slender columns divide the frieze into panels decorated with theatrical masks, rural landscapes, herms, sacred buildings, marine scenes, sea battles and natural elements such as birds and flowers. The paintings are very elegant; according to Pliny the Elder, they are attributable to Studius, a painter active during Augustus' reign.

These frescoes come from a rich Roman house discovered in 1879 during the consolidation of the banks of the Tiber River. It was excavated in Rome, in the garden of the Sixteenth-century Villa della Farnesina, from which takes its name.

In the Augustan era, the building was a suburban villa and its construction is connected to events of Augustus' family. According to some scholars, the Roman villa was built on the occasion of the wedding of Vipsanius Agrippa and Augustus' niece Claudia Marcella (28 BC); according to other scholars, when Agrippa married Julia, daughter of the Princeps (19 BC).

 

Roman fresco

Late first century BC

From Rome, Villa della Farnesina garden

Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo – Roma - Inv. 1230

 

Theatrical masks as pictorial decoration; from an ambulacrum of a villa presumably belonged to Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Roman general friend of Augustus.

The pictorial frieze is supported by painted elegant caryatids. Slender columns divide the frieze into panels decorated with theatrical masks, rural landscapes, herms, sacred buildings, marine scenes, sea battles and natural elements such as birds and flowers. The paintings are very elegant; according to Pliny the Elder, they are attributable to Studius, a painter active during Augustus' reign.

These frescoes come from a rich Roman house discovered in 1879 during the consolidation of the banks of the Tiber River. It was excavated in Rome, in the garden of the Sixteenth-century Villa della Farnesina, from which takes its name.

In the Augustan era, the building was a suburban villa and its construction is connected to events of Augustus' family. According to some scholars, the Roman villa was built on the occasion of the wedding of Vipsanius Agrippa and Augustus' niece Claudia Marcella (28 BC); according to other scholars, when Agrippa married Julia, daughter of the Princeps (19 BC).

 

Roman fresco

Late first century BC

From Rome, Villa della Farnesina garden

Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo – Roma - Inv. 1230

 

Theatrical masks as pictorial decoration; from an ambulacrum of a villa presumably belonged to Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Roman general friend of Augustus.

The pictorial frieze is supported by painted elegant caryatids. Slender columns divide the frieze into panels decorated with theatrical masks, rural landscapes, herms, sacred buildings, marine scenes, sea battles and natural elements such as birds and flowers. The paintings are very elegant; according to Pliny the Elder, they are attributable to Studius, a painter active during Augustus' reign.

These frescoes come from a rich Roman house discovered in 1879 during the consolidation of the banks of the Tiber River. It was excavated in Rome, in the garden of the Sixteenth-century Villa della Farnesina, from which takes its name.

In the Augustan era, the building was a suburban villa and its construction is connected to events of Augustus' family. According to some scholars, the Roman villa was built on the occasion of the wedding of Vipsanius Agrippa and Augustus' niece Claudia Marcella (28 BC); according to other scholars, when Agrippa married Julia, daughter of the Princeps (19 BC).

 

Roman fresco

Late first century BC

From Rome, Villa della Farnesina garden

Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo – Roma - Inv. 1230

 

Detail of the illusionistic mosaic known as the “Unswept Room” (asarotos oikos) mosaic. This mosaic signed by Heraklitos (2nd century CE) imitates a Hellenistic mosaic made by Sosos at Pergamon (early 1st century BCE).

The detail shows a panorama of fish bones, olive pits, chicken bones, fruit stems, seashells, and other scraps littering a white floor and even casting shadows upon it, as if the party were still going on and banqueters were still tossing the detritus of their meal down for servants to sweep up.

 

Source: Hurwit J.M., “Artist and Signature in Ancient Greece”

 

Roman mosaic

Signed by Heraklitos

2nd century AD

From Rome, from Aventine Hill

Vatican City State, Vatican Museums, Museo Gregoriano Profano, Cat 10132

  

This relief fragment belongs to the front central part of a sarcophagus box, which was decorated with two arches of garlands carried by three Erotes. Only the central carrier and the right garland have been preserved. The garland is rich of fruit wrapped by ribbons tied together. The Erote strides forward, his head is turned back, and holds a small panther by its tail. The garland draws an arched surface filled with two mighty tragic masks deeply carved and incised so that deep shadows are created through the hollows of the mouths, nostrils and eyes. The left mask, like Heracles, wears a lion's skin pulled over his head.

The Roman garland sarcophagi form a large group of masterworks, which vary mainly in the decoration of arches. Their production began in the Hadrian period, experienced their artistic heyday in this and the following Antonine period and can still be traced until the late 3rd century. The Berlin fragment is one of the earliest and most valuable examples of this group, which are still completely anchored in Hadrian classicism.

 

Source: Philipp von Zabern, “Die Antikensammlung Berlin”

 

Fragment of Roman bass relief

H. 72 cm; L. 120 cm

Ca. 120 – 130 AD

From Rome

Berlin, Altes Museum, Antikensammlung, Inv. SK 857

  

Tub sarcophagus decorated with pastoral scenes arranged on two registers.

In the upper register a man dressing a tunic with sleeves tied at his waist by a belt, boots and carrying a saddlebag, sits on an overturned basket in front of a building. He prunes a branch with his billhook. A dog helps the man to watch over the animals (horses, oxen, sheep and goats) that graze in an area surrounded by trees.

In the lower register a second man sitting on an overturned basket under a reed shelter and milking a goat. This man wears a tunic tied to his waist by a belt, and boots; his calves are wrapped in bandages, «fasciae». At the opposite side of this register there is another character dressed in the same way as the one depicted in the upper band, but, unlike the other two shepherds, he is beardless. Leaning on a pastoral staff, "pedum", he sits on a rock. A flock of sheep is carved in the central part of the lower band.

On the sides of the tub two lions biting deer or goats. The figures carved on the sides contrast with the peaceful pastoral scenes carved on the tub main body.

The sarcophagus lid features a frieze of Erotes driving chariots pulled by lions or deer. In the center there is a table with a dedicatory inscription reading:

 

D(is) M(anibus), / lullo Achilleo, / v(iro)

p(erfectissimo), ex prox(imo) mem(oriae), /

((ducenario)) Ludii Magni, qui / vixit annis XLVII, /

m(ensibus) X, AureIia Maxi/mina co(n)iux eius, /

marito dulclssimo.

 

According to the inscription, the sarcophagus was commissioned by Aurelia Maximina for her husband Iulius Achilleus, belonging to the equestrian order, who died at the age of 47 years and 10 months.

Achilleus had been conferred the title of «vir perfectissimus». He had an important career that began in a subordinate position as a person in charge of an office in the imperial chancellery, «proximus a memoriae», and ended as superintendent, «procurator», of the gladiatorial barracks of Rome, «Ludus Magnus»

 

The relief, at the time of its discovery, showed conspicuous traces of polychromy today only partially visible.

 

Source: S. Evangelisti, “Terme di Diocleziano, La Collezione Epigrafica”

 

Marble sarcophagus

H. 106 cm; W. 206 cm.; D. 74 cm.

CA. 270 AD

From Rome, foundnear The Therme of Caracalla

Rome, Museo Nazionale Romano, Terme di Diocleziano - lnv 125802

 

Tub sarcophagus decorated with pastoral scenes arranged on two registers.

In the upper register a man dressing a tunic with sleeves tied at his waist by a belt, boots and carrying a saddlebag, sits on an overturned basket in front of a building. He prunes a branch with his billhook. A dog helps the man to watch over the animals (horses, oxen, sheep and goats) that graze in an area surrounded by trees.

In the lower register a second man sitting on an overturned basket under a reed shelter and milking a goat. This man wears a tunic tied to his waist by a belt, and boots; his calves are wrapped in bandages, «fasciae». At the opposite side of this register there is another character dressed in the same way as the one depicted in the upper band, but, unlike the other two shepherds, he is beardless. Leaning on a pastoral staff, "pedum", he sits on a rock. A flock of sheep is carved in the central part of the lower band.

On the sides of the tub two lions biting deer or goats. The figures carved on the sides contrast with the peaceful pastoral scenes carved on the tub main body.

The sarcophagus lid features a frieze of Erotes driving chariots pulled by lions or deer. In the center there is a table with a dedicatory inscription reading:

 

D(is) M(anibus), / lullo Achilleo, / v(iro)

p(erfectissimo), ex prox(imo) mem(oriae), /

((ducenario)) Ludii Magni, qui / vixit annis XLVII, /

m(ensibus) X, AureIia Maxi/mina co(n)iux eius, /

marito dulclssimo.

 

According to the inscription, the sarcophagus was commissioned by Aurelia Maximina for her husband Iulius Achilleus, belonging to the equestrian order, who died at the age of 47 years and 10 months.

Achilleus had been conferred the title of «vir perfectissimus». He had an important career that began in a subordinate position as a person in charge of an office in the imperial chancellery, «proximus a memoriae», and ended as superintendent, «procurator», of the gladiatorial barracks of Rome, «Ludus Magnus»

 

The relief, at the time of its discovery, showed conspicuous traces of polychromy today only partially visible.

 

Source: S. Evangelisti, “Terme di Diocleziano, La Collezione Epigrafica”

 

Marble sarcophagus

H. 106 cm; W. 206 cm.; D. 74 cm.

CA. 270 AD

From Rome, foundnear The Therme of Caracalla

Rome, Museo Nazionale Romano, Terme di Diocleziano - lnv 125802

 

Statue of a young naked faun holding a basket full of grapes on his left shoulder. A wreath of pine branches almost hiding two small horns on the forehead crowns his head. An absorbed and almost dreamy gaze characterizes his face, rendered with soft features and full lips. This sculpture, probably, depicts a member of a Dionysian cortege: a topic that had great success in the decorative programs of the rich imperial Roman residences.

 

Marble all-round sculpture

H. 145 cm.

End of the 1st century AD

From the Esquiline Hill, Horti Lamiani

Capitoline Museums (Palazzo dei Conservatori), Rome, Inv S. 1138

 

Statue of a young naked faun holding a basket full of grapes on his left shoulder. A wreath of pine branches almost hiding two small horns on the forehead crowns his head. An absorbed and almost dreamy gaze characterizes his face, rendered with soft features and full lips. This sculpture, probably, depicts a member of a Dionysian cortege: a topic that had great success in the decorative programs of the rich imperial Roman residences.

 

Marble all-round sculpture

H. 145 cm.

End of the 1st century AD

From the Esquiline Hill, Horti Lamiani

Capitoline Museums (Palazzo dei Conservatori), Rome, Inv S. 1138

 

Found in the Tiber

Faliscan-type Genucilia

Late 4th-early 3rd c. BCE

 

Photographed on display in the Museo Nazionale Romano, Terme di Diocleziano

Found in the Tiber

Faliscan-type Genucilia

Late 4th-early 3rd c. BCE

 

Photographed on display in the Museo Nazionale Romano, Terme di Diocleziano

The museum plaque describes this as an "elmo miniaturistico," although it does not seem considerably under-lifesize, and offers a possible Julio-Claudian (ca. 1st half 1st c. CE) date.

Found during the 1777 excavations in Piazza S. Carlo al Corso, Rome.

Musei Vaticani, inv. 65750

The museum plaque describes this as an "elmo miniaturistico," although it does not seem considerably under-lifesize, and offers a possible Julio-Claudian (ca. 1st half 1st c. CE) date.

Found during the 1777 excavations in Piazza S. Carlo al Corso, Rome.

Musei Vaticani, inv. 65750

Left, Negau-type helmet

The museum plaque describes this as an "elmo miniaturistico," although it does not seem considerably under-lifesize, and offers a possible Julio-Claudian (ca. 1st half 1st c. CE) date.

Musei Vaticani, inv. 65750

 

To the right, fragment of a cuirass from a statue, with gorgoneion and palmette.

Bronze.

Julio-Claudian period?

Musei Vaticani, inv. 65730

 

Both found during the 1777 excavations in Piazza S. Carlo al Corso, Rome.

Found in the 1870s within the Mausoleum of the Sempronii, outside Porta Capena, Rome.

Marble

260s CE

 

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 87-21

Found in the 1870s within the Mausoleum of the Sempronii, outside Porta Capena, Rome.

Marble

260s CE

 

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 87-21

This colossal statue may have been part of the decorations of the Theatre of Pompey in Rome. It was discovered without arms in 1496. In 1782, Giovanni Pierantoni restored the Muse’s statua as Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy, by adding forearms and a modern tragic mask. Four other Muses were found towards the end of the 16th century in the same space. Melpomene was undoubtedly part of a group of nine muses who decorated the theater or the portico of Pompey Theater, the first stone spectacle building in Rome. This statute is the only one to have kept its original head.

Former the statue belonged to the Vatican Collections; it was confiscated during the Napoleonic era in 1803, and was exchanged in 1815 with the “Laocoon”, which had been returned to the Vatican after the defeat of Napoleon.

 

Marble statue

H. 3.92 m

C. 50 BC

From Rome, Campus Martius, Theatre of Pompey

Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities

Paris, Musée du Louvre – (Ma. 411)

 

This colossal statue may have been part of the decorations of the Theatre of Pompey in Rome. It was discovered without arms in 1496. In 1782, Giovanni Pierantoni restored the Muse’s statua as Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy, by adding forearms and a modern tragic mask. Four other Muses were found towards the end of the 16th century in the same space. Melpomene was undoubtedly part of a group of nine muses who decorated the theater or the portico of Pompey Theater, the first stone spectacle building in Rome. This statute is the only one to have kept its original head.

Former the statue belonged to the Vatican Collections; it was confiscated during the Napoleonic era in 1803, and was exchanged in 1815 with the “Laocoon”, which had been returned to the Vatican after the defeat of Napoleon.

 

Marble statue

H. 3.92 m

C. 50 BC

From Rome, Campus Martius, Theatre of Pompey

Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities

Paris, Musée du Louvre – (Ma. 411)

 

Detail of the Muses frieze: From left, Thalia, muse of comedy, holdind a comic mask; Terpsichore, muse of dance; Euterpe, muse of lyric poetry, with a double flute; Polymnia, muse of hymnody, leant on a rock;

 

Source: Louvre WEB notice

 

Roman marble sarcophagus

H. : 92 cm. ; L. : 206 cm. ; W. : 68 cm.

150 – 200 AD

From Rome, Via Ostiense

Paris, Musée du Louvre – MR. 880, (Ma. 475)

 

Sarcophagus front carved with a frieze showing the nine Muses, each one endowed with her distinctive attribute. From left to right we can recognize Calliope, muse of epic poetry, who holds a scroll; Thalia, muse of comedy, with a comic mask in her left hand; Terpsichore, muse of dance; Euterpe, muse of lyric poetry, holding a double flute; Polymnia, muse of hymnody, leant on a rock; Clio, muse of history, with a writing-tablet; Erato, muse of love poetry, holding a cithara; Urania, muse of astronomy, shown with a globe at her feet; and finally Melpomene, muse of tragedy, wearing a tragic mask and cothurnoi.

The bas relief on the left side shows a seated philosopher, identified as Socrates, and a standing woman (Diotima ?). On the right side, there is a sage or a poet ( Homer ?) with a young woman. A symposium scene of satyrs and maenads is carved on the front of sarcophagus lid.

How reported by Paul Zanker in his book “Living with Myths”, the themes of literature and culture played a role from the very beginning of sarcophagus art, as is shown by the 300 or so Muse sarcophagi. The earliest Muse sarcophagi show the Muses in a grove; later they are sometimes arranged like statue groups. Their arrangement, and also the fact that the individual Muses were associated with specific areas of art and knowledge and given the relevant attributes, meant that from the very beginning the impression they created was that of presenting the whole range of arts and sciences. The frequent presence of Apollo and Athena among the choir of Muses points in the same direction. Apollo, the leader of the Muses, appears here exclusively in the role of singer with his lyre, whereas Athena, with her weapons but no further attributes, is allocated the role of protector of the sciences and the arts.

The decoration of this sarcophagus illustrates the ideal of the cultivated man as manifested in Roman funerary art of the second to fourth centuries CE. Created around the mid-second century CE, this sarcophagus was probably made for a cultivated Roman anxious to demonstrate his attachment to Greek culture, with models drawn from Greek art. The composition of the frieze, the neutral background and the retrained attitude of the Muses all evoke the classical art of the fifth and fourth centuries BCE. This impression is sustained by the very discreet employment of the drill and the rounded forms of the carefully polished surfaces. The elongated figures of the young women and their almost statuesque appearance, suggested by the depth of the relief, also recall Hellenistic art.

 

Source: Louvre WEB notice

 

Roman marble sarcophagus

H. : 92 cm. ; L. : 206 cm. ; W. : 68 cm.

150 – 200 AD

From Rome, Via Ostiense

Paris, Musée du Louvre – MR. 880, (Ma. 475)

 

Sarcophagus front carved with a frieze showing the nine Muses, each one endowed with her distinctive attribute. From left to right we can recognize Calliope, muse of epic poetry, who holds a scroll; Thalia, muse of comedy, with a comic mask in her left hand; Terpsichore, muse of dance; Euterpe, muse of lyric poetry, holding a double flute; Polymnia, muse of hymnody, leant on a rock; Clio, muse of history, with a writing-tablet; Erato, muse of love poetry, holding a cithara; Urania, muse of astronomy, shown with a globe at her feet; and finally Melpomene, muse of tragedy, wearing a tragic mask and cothurnoi.

The bas relief on the left side shows a seated philosopher, identified as Socrates, and a standing woman (Diotima ?). On the right side, there is a sage or a poet ( Homer ?) with a young woman. A symposium scene of satyrs and maenads is carved on the front of sarcophagus lid.

How reported by Paul Zanker in his book “Living with Myths”, the themes of literature and culture played a role from the very beginning of sarcophagus art, as is shown by the 300 or so Muse sarcophagi. The earliest Muse sarcophagi show the Muses in a grove; later they are sometimes arranged like statue groups. Their arrangement, and also the fact that the individual Muses were associated with specific areas of art and knowledge and given the relevant attributes, meant that from the very beginning the impression they created was that of presenting the whole range of arts and sciences. The frequent presence of Apollo and Athena among the choir of Muses points in the same direction. Apollo, the leader of the Muses, appears here exclusively in the role of singer with his lyre, whereas Athena, with her weapons but no further attributes, is allocated the role of protector of the sciences and the arts.

The decoration of this sarcophagus illustrates the ideal of the cultivated man as manifested in Roman funerary art of the second to fourth centuries CE. Created around the mid-second century CE, this sarcophagus was probably made for a cultivated Roman anxious to demonstrate his attachment to Greek culture, with models drawn from Greek art. The composition of the frieze, the neutral background and the retrained attitude of the Muses all evoke the classical art of the fifth and fourth centuries BCE. This impression is sustained by the very discreet employment of the drill and the rounded forms of the carefully polished surfaces. The elongated figures of the young women and their almost statuesque appearance, suggested by the depth of the relief, also recall Hellenistic art.

 

Source: Louvre WEB notice

 

Roman marble sarcophagus

H. : 92 cm. ; L. : 206 cm. ; W. : 68 cm.

150 – 200 AD

From Rome, Via Ostiense

Paris, Musée du Louvre – MR. 880, (Ma. 475)

 

Detail of the Muses frieze. From right, Melpomene, muse of tragedy, she is wearing tragic mask and cothurnoi (kothornoi) the thick-soled shoes put on by tragedy performers; Urania, muse of astronomy, shown with a globe at her feet; and, finally, Erato, muse of love poetry, who holds a cithara.

 

Source: Louvre WEB notice

 

Roman marble sarcophagus

H. : 92 cm. ; L. : 206 cm. ; W. : 68 cm.

150 – 200 AD

From Rome, Via Ostiense

Paris, Musée du Louvre – MR. 880, (Ma. 475)

 

Detail of the left short side: bas relief showing a standing woman, perhaps the Greek prophetess and philosopher Diotima, in front of a seated character identified as the philosopher Socrates.

 

Source: Louvre WEB notice

 

Roman marble sarcophagus

H. : 92 cm. ; L. : 206 cm. ; W. : 68 cm.

150 – 200 AD

From Rome, Via Ostiense

Paris, Musée du Louvre – MR. 880, (Ma. 475)

 

Right short side of architectural sarcophagus decorated with the cycle of the nine muses. In the three niches on each side a philosopher is represented in conversation with two muses. On this side a philosopher between Urania, muse of astronomy, and Polymnia, muse of sacred poetry.

 

Marble sarcophagus

H. 129 cm; L. 265 cm; W. 130 cm.

280 - 290 AD.

From Rome

Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo – Roma - Inv. 80701

  

Illusionistic mosaic of an “Unswept Room” (asarotos oikos) decorated with a panorama of fish bones, olive pits, chicken bones, fruit stems, seashells, and other scraps littering a white floor and even casting shadows upon it, as if the party were still going on and banqueters were still tossing the detritus of their meal down for servants to sweep up. The charming detail of a mouse taking advantage of the situation and nibbling a cracked walnut seems to be, alas, a Renaissance restoration)

This mosaic signed by Heraklitos (2nd century CE) imitates a Hellenistic mosaic made by Sosos at Pergamon (early 1st century BCE).

 

Source: Hurwit J.M., “Artist and Signature in Ancient Greece”

 

Roman mosaic

Signed by Heraklitos

2nd century AD

From Rome, from Aventine Hill

Vatican City State, Vatican Museums, Museo Gregoriano Profano, Cat 10132

 

Detail of a corner panel decorated with a Nilotic scene.

 

Roman mosaic

Signed by Heraklitos

2nd century AD

From Rome, from Aventine Hill

Vatican City State, Vatican Museums, Museo Gregoriano Profano, Cat 10132

 

Array of theatrical masks inserted in an illusionistic mosaic of an “Unswept Room” (asarotos oikos).

The original “asarotos oikos” signed by the mosaicist Sosos was created in Pergamon in the 2nd BC, but does not survive; it was very famous, and several later copies and variants are survived. This is the Roman version (usually dated to the 2nd century AD) and presents a trompe l’oeil panorama of fish bones, olive pits, chicken bones, fruit stems, seashells, and other scraps littering a white floor and even casting shadows upon it, as if the party were still going on and banqueters were still tossing the detritus of their meal down for servants to sweep up.

But the pride copyist’s impulse for imitation went only so far, and (assuming that the well-known original was signed) he replaced the signature of Sosos with his own: HERAKLITOS ERGASATO, written, a little off-center, below an array of theatrical masks (theater being another kind of illusion) along one edge of the floor. The signature is thus a kind of boast that Heraklitos, three centuries later, was able to compete with Sosos and match his famous illusionism.

Nilotic scenes and ritual objects complete the floor decoration.

 

Source: Hurwit J.M., “Artist and Signature in Ancient Greece”

 

Roman mosaic

Signed by Heraklitos

2nd century AD

From Rome, from Aventine Hill

Vatican City State, Vatican Museums, Museo Gregoriano Profano, Cat 10132

 

This statue represents a young Genius with a cornucopia in his left hand.

A Genius is a protecting spirit, and the belief in such spirits existed both in Greece and at Rome. The Greeks called them δαίμονες, daemons, and appear to have believed in them from the earliest times. The daemons are described as the ministers and companions of the gods, who carry the prayers of men to the gods, and the gifts of the gods to men. The Romans seem to have received their theory concerning the Genii from the Etruscans, though the name Genius itself is Latin. Every human being at his birth obtains a Genius, and every man at Rome had his own Genius, whom he worshipped as “sanctus et sanctissimus deus”, especially on his birthday, with libations of vine, incense, and garlands of flowers. The Genii were further not confined to man, but every living being, animal as well as man, and every place, had its genius.

The whole body of the Roman people had its own Genius, who is often seen represented on coins of Hadrian and Trajan.

The Genii are usually represented in works of art as winged beings, and on Roman monuments a Genius commonly appears as a youth dressed in the toga, with a patera or cornucopia in his hands, and his head covered. The Genius of a place appears in the form of a serpent eating fruit placed before him.

 

A large aegis with snakes carved in relief rests on the same shoulder. In order to explain the meaning of this character, three hypotheses have been proposed. According to the first hypothesis, due to the presence of the cornucopia and the aegis, he could represent the Genius of Jupiter, but there are not many examples that would prove this theory.

The second hypothesis proposes the identification of this character with a military genius. It is supported by the presence of the similar iconography on some of the monetary productions of Trajan Decius.

Finally, according to other scholars, the presence of the aegis wrapping the Genius' figure could identify our character as the Genius of an emperor. But this theory has been criticized because the deeply idealized features of his face make difficult to recognize any emperor in this sculpture. The cornucopia, the ideal rendering of the body and the facial features leave no doubt that this figure is a Genius, but the presence of the aegis makes identification more difficult.

The body of the Genius is thin. The weight is supported by his right leg, while the left one is slightly bent backwards. The head and face recall the Apollonian style of the 4th century BC. The expression of the face is lively. His hair is tied with a band; one part is gathered in a tuft on the top of his head, the remaining locks are gathered behind the nape.

 

Marble sculpture

End of the 1st century AD

From the Esquiline Hill, near the Via Labicana

Capitoline Museums (Palazzo dei Conservatori), Rome, Inv S. 1139

 

This statue represents a young Genius with a cornucopia in his left hand.

A Genius is a protecting spirit, and the belief in such spirits existed both in Greece and at Rome. The Greeks called them δαίμονες, daemons, and appear to have believed in them from the earliest times. The daemons are described as the ministers and companions of the gods, who carry the prayers of men to the gods, and the gifts of the gods to men. The Romans seem to have received their theory concerning the Genii from the Etruscans, though the name Genius itself is Latin. Every human being at his birth obtains a Genius, and every man at Rome had his own Genius, whom he worshipped as “sanctus et sanctissimus deus”, especially on his birthday, with libations of vine, incense, and garlands of flowers. The Genii were further not confined to man, but every living being, animal as well as man, and every place, had its genius.

The whole body of the Roman people had its own Genius, who is often seen represented on coins of Hadrian and Trajan.

The Genii are usually represented in works of art as winged beings, and on Roman monuments a Genius commonly appears as a youth dressed in the toga, with a patera or cornucopia in his hands, and his head covered. The Genius of a place appears in the form of a serpent eating fruit placed before him.

 

A large aegis with snakes carved in relief rests on the same shoulder. In order to explain the meaning of this character, three hypotheses have been proposed. According to the first hypothesis, due to the presence of the cornucopia and the aegis, he could represent the Genius of Jupiter, but there are not many examples that would prove this theory.

The second hypothesis proposes the identification of this character with a military genius. It is supported by the presence of the similar iconography on some of the monetary productions of Trajan Decius.

Finally, according to other scholars, the presence of the aegis wrapping the Genius' figure could identify our character as the Genius of an emperor. But this theory has been criticized because the deeply idealized features of his face make difficult to recognize any emperor in this sculpture. The cornucopia, the ideal rendering of the body and the facial features leave no doubt that this figure is a Genius, but the presence of the aegis makes identification more difficult.

The body of the Genius is thin. The weight is supported by his right leg, while the left one is slightly bent backwards. The head and face recall the Apollonian style of the 4th century BC. The expression of the face is lively. His hair is tied with a band; one part is gathered in a tuft on the top of his head, the remaining locks are gathered behind the nape.

 

Marble sculpture

End of the 1st century AD

From the Esquiline Hill, near the Via Labicana

Capitoline Museums (Palazzo dei Conservatori), Rome, Inv S. 1139

 

This statue represents a young Genius with a cornucopia in his left hand.

A Genius is a protecting spirit, and the belief in such spirits existed both in Greece and at Rome. The Greeks called them δαίμονες, daemons, and appear to have believed in them from the earliest times. The daemons are described as the ministers and companions of the gods, who carry the prayers of men to the gods, and the gifts of the gods to men. The Romans seem to have received their theory concerning the Genii from the Etruscans, though the name Genius itself is Latin. Every human being at his birth obtains a Genius, and every man at Rome had his own Genius, whom he worshipped as “sanctus et sanctissimus deus”, especially on his birthday, with libations of vine, incense, and garlands of flowers. The Genii were further not confined to man, but every living being, animal as well as man, and every place, had its genius.

The whole body of the Roman people had its own Genius, who is often seen represented on coins of Hadrian and Trajan.

The Genii are usually represented in works of art as winged beings, and on Roman monuments a Genius commonly appears as a youth dressed in the toga, with a patera or cornucopia in his hands, and his head covered. The Genius of a place appears in the form of a serpent eating fruit placed before him.

 

A large aegis with snakes carved in relief rests on the same shoulder. In order to explain the meaning of this character, three hypotheses have been proposed. According to the first hypothesis, due to the presence of the cornucopia and the aegis, he could represent the Genius of Jupiter, but there are not many examples that would prove this theory.

The second hypothesis proposes the identification of this character with a military genius. It is supported by the presence of the similar iconography on some of the monetary productions of Trajan Decius.

Finally, according to other scholars, the presence of the aegis wrapping the Genius' figure could identify our character as the Genius of an emperor. But this theory has been criticized because the deeply idealized features of his face make difficult to recognize any emperor in this sculpture. The cornucopia, the ideal rendering of the body and the facial features leave no doubt that this figure is a Genius, but the presence of the aegis makes identification more difficult.

The body of the Genius is thin. The weight is supported by his right leg, while the left one is slightly bent backwards. The head and face recall the Apollonian style of the 4th century BC. The expression of the face is lively. His hair is tied with a band; one part is gathered in a tuft on the top of his head, the remaining locks are gathered behind the nape.

 

Marble sculpture

End of the 1st century AD

From the Esquiline Hill, near the Via Labicana

Capitoline Museums (Palazzo dei Conservatori), Rome, Inv S. 1139

 

1st half 3rd c. BCE

From Rome, loc. Osteria del Curato

 

Photographed on display in the Antiquarium di Lucrezia Romana, Rome

Inv. 583101

1st half 3rd c. BCE

From Rome, loc. Osteria del Curato

 

Photographed on display in the Antiquarium di Lucrezia Romana, Rome

Inv. 585352 and 583102

Hadrianic period, 130-138 CE

White marble

Discovered in Rome during the excavations of Pope Paul III in the 2nd half of the 16th century.

 

In the collection of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli (former Farnese Collection), inv. 6030.

Photographed on display in the "Raffaello 1520-1483" exhibit at the Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome.

Hadrianic period, 130-138 CE

White marble

Discovered in Rome during the excavations of Pope Paul III in the 2nd half of the 16th century.

 

In the collection of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli (former Farnese Collection), inv. 6030.

Photographed on display in the "Raffaello 1520-1483" exhibit at the Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome.

From the Tomb of the Haterii on the Via Labicana, at Rome

Ca. 100-120 CE

Luni marble

 

Musei Vaticani, Museo Gregoriano Profano, inv. 9998

 

On display at the exhibit "L'Arte di Costruire un Capolavoro: la Colonna Traiana" (The Art of Building a Masterpiece: Trajan's Column), Limonaia del Giardino di Boboli, Florence, June 21 - October 6, 2019

From the Tomb of the Haterii on the Via Labicana, at Rome

Ca. 100-120 CE

Luni marble

 

Musei Vaticani, Museo Gregoriano Profano, inv. 9998

 

On display at the exhibit "L'Arte di Costruire un Capolavoro: la Colonna Traiana" (The Art of Building a Masterpiece: Trajan's Column), Limonaia del Giardino di Boboli, Florence, June 21 - October 6, 2019

From the Tomb of the Haterii on the Via Labicana, at Rome

Ca. 100-120 CE

Luni marble

 

Musei Vaticani, Museo Gregoriano Profano, inv. 9998

 

On display at the exhibit "L'Arte di Costruire un Capolavoro: la Colonna Traiana" (The Art of Building a Masterpiece: Trajan's Column), Limonaia del Giardino di Boboli, Florence, June 21 - October 6, 2019

From the Tomb of the Haterii on the Via Labicana, at Rome

Ca. 100-120 CE

Luni marble

 

Musei Vaticani, Museo Gregoriano Profano, inv. 9998

 

On display at the exhibit "L'Arte di Costruire un Capolavoro: la Colonna Traiana" (The Art of Building a Masterpiece: Trajan's Column), Limonaia del Giardino di Boboli, Florence, June 21 - October 6, 2019

From the Tomb of the Haterii on the Via Labicana, at Rome

Ca. 100-120 CE

Luni marble

 

Musei Vaticani, Museo Gregoriano Profano, inv. 9998

 

On display at the exhibit "L'Arte di Costruire un Capolavoro: la Colonna Traiana" (The Art of Building a Masterpiece: Trajan's Column), Limonaia del Giardino di Boboli, Florence, June 21 - October 6, 2019

From the Tomb of the Haterii on the Via Labicana, at Rome

Ca. 100-120 CE

Luni marble

 

Musei Vaticani, Museo Gregoriano Profano, inv. 9998

 

On display at the exhibit "L'Arte di Costruire un Capolavoro: la Colonna Traiana" (The Art of Building a Masterpiece: Trajan's Column), Limonaia del Giardino di Boboli, Florence, June 21 - October 6, 2019

From the Tomb of the Haterii on the Via Labicana, at Rome

Ca. 100-120 CE

Luni marble

 

Musei Vaticani, Museo Gregoriano Profano, inv. 9998

 

On display at the exhibit "L'Arte di Costruire un Capolavoro: la Colonna Traiana" (The Art of Building a Masterpiece: Trajan's Column), Limonaia del Giardino di Boboli, Florence, June 21 - October 6, 2019

2nd-3rd c. CE

White marble

From Rome, found between the Esquiline and the Colosseum.

Inscribed on the top surface are the four cardinal directions; on the sides the names of the twelve winds, in Latin and Greek.

 

Musei Vaticani, Museo Pio Clementino, inv. 1145

 

On display at the exhibit "L'Arte di Costruire un Capolavoro: la Colonna Traiana" (The Art of Building a Masterpiece: Trajan's Column), Limonaia del Giardino di Boboli, Florence, June 21 - October 6, 2019

2nd-3rd c. CE

White marble

From Rome, found between the Esquiline and the Colosseum.

Inscribed on the top surface are the four cardinal directions; on the sides the names of the twelve winds, in Latin and Greek.

 

Musei Vaticani, Museo Pio Clementino, inv. 1145

 

On display at the exhibit "L'Arte di Costruire un Capolavoro: la Colonna Traiana" (The Art of Building a Masterpiece: Trajan's Column), Limonaia del Giardino di Boboli, Florence, June 21 - October 6, 2019

2nd-3rd c. CE

White marble

From Rome, found between the Esquiline and the Colosseum.

Inscribed on the top surface are the four cardinal directions; on the sides the names of the twelve winds, in Latin and Greek.

 

Musei Vaticani, Museo Pio Clementino, inv. 1145

 

On display at the exhibit "L'Arte di Costruire un Capolavoro: la Colonna Traiana" (The Art of Building a Masterpiece: Trajan's Column), Limonaia del Giardino di Boboli, Florence, June 21 - October 6, 2019

2nd-3rd c. CE

White marble

From Rome, found between the Esquiline and the Colosseum.

Inscribed on the top surface are the four cardinal directions; on the sides the names of the twelve winds, in Latin and Greek.

 

Musei Vaticani, Museo Pio Clementino, inv. 1145

 

On display at the exhibit "L'Arte di Costruire un Capolavoro: la Colonna Traiana" (The Art of Building a Masterpiece: Trajan's Column), Limonaia del Giardino di Boboli, Florence, June 21 - October 6, 2019

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