Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Marble cinerary urn

Early Imperial, Julio-Claudian
1st half of 1st century A.D.
Overall: 14 1/4 x 21 1/4 x 16 1/8 in. (36.2 x 54 x 41 cm)
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Purchase, Philodoroi Gifts, 2002
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 166
This Roman cinerary urn is highly unusual in having the spoils of war as its principal theme. Despite the fragmentary nature of the piece, the trophies and piles of weapons and armor that cover the back and sides of the rectilinear box are very striking. In both detail and composition, the panels are representative of high-quality workmanship, suggesting that the work was a special commission. Sadly, much of the front, where the inscription recording the name of the deceased would have been, is missing. The urn is said to have been excavated from a tomb near Anagni, southeast of Rome, in 1899.
Other marble funerary urns in the Museum’s collection (see 96.9.222a, b; 25.78.29; and 27.122.2a, b; on display in the courtyard) belong to much more common types of Roman funerary art, cinerary urns that either resemble actual receptacles (vases or baskets) or are in the form of altars or miniature buildings. In both iconography and craftsmanship, the present urn foreshadows the elaborate sarcophagi of the Mid-Imperial period.
Excavated from a tomb in Anagni, on the grounds of the Villa Magna (on the property of Pietro Balestra) southeast of Rome, in 1899

Lovatelli, Ersilia Caetani Contessa. 1900. "Urna marmorea con rappresentanze di trofei." Bullettino della Commissione archeologica comunale di Roma, 28: pp. 242-66, figs. 1-3, pls. 14-15.

Lovatelli, Ersilia Caetani Contessa. 1901. Attaverso il mondo antico, 4th edn. p. 283, Rome: Loescher.

Altmann, Walter. 1905. Die römischen Grabaltäre der Kaiserzeit. pp. 17, 133, Berlin: Weidmann.

Löwy, Emmanuel. 1928. Die Anfange des Triumphbogens. pp. 28ff., figs. 63-6, Vienna: Anton Schroll.

Janssen, Andreas Jozef. 1957. Het antieke Tropaion. p. 182, fig. 177, Brussels: Paleis der Acodemiën.

Charles-Picard, Gilbert. 1957. Les trophées romains. pl. 21, Paris: E. de Boccard.

Wegner, Max. 1961. "Kapitelle und Friese vom Bogen der Sergier zu Pola." Beihefte der Bonner Jahrbucher, 161: p. 274.

Mazzolani, Matilde. 1969. Forma Italia: Anagnia, Regio I, Latium et Campania, Vol. 6. no. 174, p. 124, Florence: Olschki.

Sinn, Friederike. 1987. Stadtrömische Marmorurnen. no. 94, p. 115, pls. 26e, f, Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.

Lightfoot, Christopher S. 2003. "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2002-2003." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 61(2): p. 8.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2003. "One Hundred Thirty-third Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2002 through June 30, 2003." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 133: p. 23.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 438, pp. 376, 491, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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