Lot

53

A Fragment of a Sarcophagus with Mythological Scene (The Rape of Proserpina)

In Greek and Roman Art: Mycenae to Byzantium

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Basel
Roman 2nd cent. A.D..
Marble. L. 58.4 cm. H. 32.2 cm. D. 14.3 cm
The relief fragment shows the almost completely nude body of a female figure, viewed from behind. Her cloak has slipped off so that it now covers only part of her thigh and lower leg. Lying on the ground with her torso twisted slightly off axis, she uses her left arm to prop herself up, while her right arm would have been raised originally. With her head thrown back and her gaze directed upwards, she is apparently transfixed by the scene immediately above her, her open mouth signalling a certain agitation. Her hair is tied at the nape of her neck, although two long tresses have broken free and are now cascading down her shoulders. Preserved above her is the writhing end of a tail, while the lower part of a vessel of some kind can be made out just above her right foot. The type of the supine figure viewed from behind with robes sliding off her back recurs on numerous sarcophagi whose fronts bear the abduction of Proserpina. It is therefore highly likely that our fragment, too, comes from such a context. Premised on this analogy, the point of attachment above the left lower arm might belong to a horn of plenty and the remains of a tail to the chariot drawn by serpents with which Ceres chases after her abducted daughter. Traces of tooling on the reverse. Condition: Minor lacuna at the right thigh. A few superficial chips lost at the head and the left upper arm.
Formerly priv. coll. Virginia, acquired from The Folio Society, London, in 1986. Thence by descent.
Roman 2nd cent. A.D..
Marble. L. 58.4 cm. H. 32.2 cm. D. 14.3 cm
The relief fragment shows the almost completely nude body of a female figure, viewed from behind. Her cloak has slipped off so that it now covers only part of her thigh and lower leg. Lying on the ground with her torso twisted slightly off axis, she uses her left arm to prop herself up, while her right arm would have been raised originally. With her head thrown back and her gaze directed upwards, she is apparently transfixed by the scene immediately above her, her open mouth signalling a certain agitation. Her hair is tied at the nape of her neck, although two long tresses have broken free and are now cascading down her shoulders. Preserved above her is the writhing end of a tail, while the lower part of a vessel of some kind can be made out just above her right foot. The type of the supine figure viewed from behind with robes sliding off her back recurs on numerous sarcophagi whose fronts bear the abduction of Proserpina. It is therefore highly likely that our fragment, too, comes from such a context. Premised on this analogy, the point of attachment above the left lower arm might belong to a horn of plenty and the remains of a tail to the chariot drawn by serpents with which Ceres chases after her abducted daughter. Traces of tooling on the reverse. Condition: Minor lacuna at the right thigh. A few superficial chips lost at the head and the left upper arm.
Formerly priv. coll. Virginia, acquired from The Folio Society, London, in 1986. Thence by descent.

Greek and Roman Art: Mycenae to Byzantium

Sale Date(s)
Venue Address
Malzgasse 23
Basel
4052
Switzerland

For Jean-David Cahn AG delivery information please telephone +41 61 271 67 55.

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Tags: Roman, Vessel