Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Marble funerary altar of Cominia Tyche

Period:
Flavian or Trajanic
Date:
ca. A.D. 90–100
Culture:
Roman
Medium:
Marble
Dimensions:
H. 40 in. (101.6 cm)
Classification:
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of Philip Hofer, 1938
Accession Number:
38.27
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 162
The woman whose portrait bust dominates the front of this funerary altar is identified by the Latin inscription below her. It reads: “To the spirits of the dead. Lucius Annius Festus [set this up] for the most saintly Cominia Tyche, his most chaste and loving wife, who lived 27 years, 11 months, and 28 days, and also for himself and for his descendants.” Cominia wears an elaborate hairstyle that reflects the high fashion adopted by ladies of the imperial court in the late Flavian period (A.D. 69–96). The inscription, on the other hand, emphasizes her piety and chastity, virtues that Roman matrons were traditionally expected to possess. The jug and patera (shallow bowl with handle) on the monument’s sides allude to the common practice of pouring offerings to the dead. The altar is known to have been in a house near the Forum in Rome in the sixteenth century and to have entered the collection of Cardinal Francesco Barberini during the seventeenth century.
Inscription: "To the spirits of the dead. To the most saintly Cominia Tyche, his most chaste and loving wife, [from] Lucius Annius Festus. [She] died at the age of twenty-seven years, eleven months, twenty-eight days. Also for himself and for his descendants."
Found in Rome (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum VI/3, 1886, no. 16054)

From the late 1560s, collection of Angelo of Capranica, Rome; from 1677, collection of Cardinal Francesco Barberini, Rome (according to Joseph Maria Suarez, bishop of Vaison: Suaresius, Vatican, codex 9140 f. 120); by 1882, Palazzo Barberini, Rome; [Joseph Brummer]; Philip Hofer by 1938; acquired February 21, 1938, gift of Philip Hofer, Esq.; From the late 1560s, collection of Angelo of Capranica, Rome; from before 1677, collection of Cardinal Francesco Barberini, Rome (according to Joseph Maria Suarez, bishop of Vaison: Suaresius, Vatican, codex 9140 f. 120); by 1882, Palazzo Barberini, Rome; [until 1937, with Jandolo, Rome]; [1937, purchased from Jandolo by Joseph Brummer, New York]; [1937-1938, with Joseph Brummer, New York]; 1938, purchased by Philip Hofer from Joseph Brummer; acquired in 1938, gift of Philip Hofer, Esq.
Matz, Friedrich. 1882. Antike Bildwerke in Rom, mit Ausschluss der grösseren Sammlungen, Vol. 3. no. 3912, pp. 187-88 , Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel.

Berolini, apud G. Reimerum. 1886. Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, Vol. 6, pt. 3. no. 16054.

Altmann, Walter. 1905. Die römischen Grabaltäre der Kaiserzeit. no. 274, p. 213, fig. 171, Berlin: Weidmann.

Snijder, Geerto Aeilko Sebo. 1932. "Antique and Mediaeval Gems on Bookcovers at Utrecht." The Art Bulletin, 14(1): p. 33.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1938. "A Roman Funerary Monument." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 33(4): pp. 103-5, figs. 1-3.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1941. Roman Portraits, Vol. 1. no. 26, p. 4, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1948. Roman Portraits, 2nd edn. no. 56, p. iv, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Jucker, Hans and Urs Graf-Verlag. 1961. Das Bildnis im Blätterkelch: Geschichte und Bedeutung einer römischen Porträtform. no. G6, p. 21, pl. 3, Olten.

McCann, Anna Marguerite. 1978. Roman Sarcophagi in the Metropoltian Museum of Art. p. 19, fig. 8, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1987. Greece and Rome. no. 90, pp. 120-21 , New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Boschung, Dietrich. 1987. Antike Grabaltäre aus den Nekropolen Roms. no. 941, p. 75, 113, pl. 13, Bern: Stämpfli.

Kleiner, Diana and Susan B. Matheson. 1996. I Claudia: Women in Ancient Rome p. 199, fig. 149, New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery.

Bodel, John P. and Stephen Tracy. 1997. Greek and Latin Inscriptions in the USA: A Checklist. p. 196, Rome: The American Academy in Rome.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 424, pp. 365, 488, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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