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Historic Images of the Greek Bronze Age: The Reproductions of E. Gilliéron and Son

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Marble funerary altar

Period:
Early Imperial, Julio-Claudian
Date:
ca. A.D. 14–68
Culture:
Roman
Medium:
Marble
Dimensions:
H. 31 3/4 in. (80.7 cm)
Classification:
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1925
Accession Number:
25.78.29
  • Description

    The inscription commemorates a certain Q. Fabius Diogenes and Fabia Primigenia, who lived together for forty-seven years, and tells that the altar was set up by his freedmen, freedwomen, and household slaves. Diogenes himself was probably a freed slave who had acquired a certain wealth and position. This is reflected in the ornamentation of the altar, which is a deliberate echo of imagery used in imperial art of the Julio-Claudian period. The heavy garland suspended from rams’ heads derives from the kind of decoration found on the walls of public sanctuaries. The three types of birds surrounding the garland were all familiar from Augustan monuments: at the center, an eagle, bird of Jupiter, ruler of the gods; at the corners, swans, birds of Apollo, patron god of the emperor; and below the garland, two songbirds, symbols of bountiful nature.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed to Q. Fabius Diogenes and Fabia Primigenia

  • References

    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. 86, pp. 114-15 .

    McCann, Anna Marguerite. 1978. Roman Sarcophagi in the Metropoltian Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 19, fig. 7.

    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. 421, pp. 363, 487-88.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
251815

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