Roman Marble Relief Panel from a Garland Sarcophagus - X.0031 - For Sale

Roman Marble Relief Panel from a Garland Sarcophagus - X.0031
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This large relief panel, made of a grainy, crystalline marble, is but a fragment from the front of a garland sarcophagus. Garland sarcophagi are a specific group of burial monuments whose decorative scheme centered around the swags of a large garland that divided the fa├žade into three sections. Being able to afford a sarcophagus in death would have meant that the individual would have been extraordinarily wealthy in life. Even the middle classes could only afford cinerary urns, suggesting that the individual who was once buried inside the completed garland sarcophagi would have been an elite member of the Roman aristocracy.On the right side of the fragment, an Eros stands on a dado supporting a massive garland on his shoulders. On the left of the piece, a truncated winged Victory (only her arm and right side remain) supports the other end of the garland and proffers a triumphator's crown in her upraised arm. Above the swag is a Medusa head crowned by a pair of wings. Appearing more as an idealized human than as the horrendous monster she was described as in mythology, Medusa stares upwards with haunting eyes, serving here as a powerful emblem to ward off evil.The garland is composed of various fruits, acanthus leaves, and a large grape leaf placed in the center. Suspended from this leaf is a large cluster of grapes. The deep carving that characterizes the garland was produced by utilizing a running drill, a tool that became a favorite of sculptors during the later half of the 2nd Century A.D. for its ability to drill small holes and narrow channels. The artistry of this work is quite impressive considering that it was created specifically to be buried. More than a mere coffin, this sarcophagus is a monument to the life of an individual whose time passed too quickly. - (X.0031)

Ancient Roman
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Barakat Gallery
405 North Rodeo Drive
Beverly Hills
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