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Marble sarcophagus with the contest between the Muses and the Sirens

Period:
Late Imperial, Gallienic
Date:
3rd quarter of 3rd century A.D.
Culture:
Roman
Medium:
Marble, Pentelic
Dimensions:
Overall: 21 3/4 x 77 1/4 x 22 1/2 in. (55.3 x 196.2 x 57.2 cm)
Classification:
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1910
Accession Number:
10.104
  • Description

    The deities Athena, Zeus, and Hera, assembled at the far left, preside over a musical contest betweenthe Muses and Sirens. The Muses, associated with
    the highest intellectual and artistic aspirations, are defeating the Sirens, creatures that are half woman and half bird who lured men to destruction with their song.
    A drawing of the sarcophagus was commissioned by Cassiano dal Pozzo, one of the most respected patrons of art and scholarship in Rome during the first half of the seventeenth century. It belonged at that time to the del Nero family, who apparently converted it into a chest with a keyhole cut into the upper center of the frontal panel and had their coat of arms, a rampant hound, carved on the short ends
    of the sarcophagus.

  • References

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1917. Handbook of the Classical Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 256, fig. 158.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1927. Handbook of the Classical Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 310-11, fig. 220.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1930. Handbook of the Classical Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 310-11, fig. 220.

    Thimme, Jürgen. 1976. Kunst und Kultur der Kykladeninseln im 3. Jahrtausend v. Chr.: Ausstellung unter d. Patronat des International Council of Museums ICOM im Karlsruher Schloss vom 25. Juni-10. Oktober 1976. Karlsruhe: Müller, no. 119, p. 153.

    McCann, Anna Marguerite. 1978. Roman Sarcophagi in the Metropoltian Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 5, pp. 21, 46-50, 1, figs. 48-49.

    Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneleise, Brigitte Servais-Soyez, Fulvio Canciani, Giovannangelo Camporeale, Hans Peter Isler, Ingrid Krauskopf, Odette Touchefeu-Meynier, Marcel Le Glay, and Dr. Jean-Charles Balty. 1981–1999. Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vols. 1-8. Zürich: Artemis Verlag Zurich und Munchen.

    Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneleise, Brigitte Servais-Soyez, Fulvio Canciani, Giovannangelo Camporeale, Hans Peter Isler, Ingrid Krauskopf, Odette Touchefeu-Meynier, Marcel Le Glay, and Dr. Jean-Charles Balty. 1984. Aphrodisias-Athena, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. 2. Zürich: Artemis Verlag Zurich und Munchen, Athena/Minerva, no. 285.

    Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneleise, Brigitte Servais-Soyez, Fulvio Canciani, Giovannangelo Camporeale, Hans Peter Isler, Ingrid Krauskopf, Odette Touchefeu-Meynier, Marcel Le Glay, and Dr. Jean-Charles Balty. 1990. Herakles-Kenchrias, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. 5. Zürich: Artemis Verlag Zurich und Munchen, Iuno, no. 356.

    Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneleise, Brigitte Servais-Soyez, Fulvio Canciani, Giovannangelo Camporeale, Hans Peter Isler, Ingrid Krauskopf, Odette Touchefeu-Meynier, Marcel Le Glay, and Dr. Jean-Charles Balty. 1992. Kentauroi-Oiax, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. 6. Zürich: Artemis Verlag Zurich und Munchen, Mousa, Mosai/Musae, no. 219.

    Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneleise, Brigitte Servais-Soyez, Fulvio Canciani, Giovannangelo Camporeale, Hans Peter Isler, Ingrid Krauskopf, Odette Touchefeu-Meynier, Marcel Le Glay, and Dr. Jean-Charles Balty. 1994. Oidipous-Theseus, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. 7. Zürich: Artemis Verlag Zurich und Munchen, Seirenes, no. 119a.

    Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneleise, Brigitte Servais-Soyez, Fulvio Canciani, Giovannangelo Camporeale, Hans Peter Isler, Ingrid Krauskopf, Odette Touchefeu-Meynier, Marcel Le Glay, and Dr. Jean-Charles Balty. 1997. Thespiades-Zodiacus, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. 8. Zürich: Artemis Verlag Zurich und Munchen, Zeus/Iuppiter, nos. 329, 522.

    Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 469, pp. 399, 497.

    Cain, Hans-Ulrich. 2011. "Den Feunden der Natur und Kunst. Athena, Apollo und Neun Musen im Pantheon des Gartenreichs Dessau-Wörlitz." Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, 62: p. 23, fig. 26.

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