Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Fragment of a Sarcophagus with a Seated Figure

ca. 250
Made in Asia Minor
Overall: 11 x 9 13/16 x 2 3/16 in. (28 x 25 x 5.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1918
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 300
Images of seated figures holding open scrolls, as here, were understood throughout the Late Roman world to be philosophers, or learned men. Originally part of a large sarcophagus with five niches separated by columns, this figure represented interest in an intellectual life and its usefulness in achieving a happy future life. The philosopher pose was adopted from the 300s onward for images of intellectual leaders of the Christian church, including Christ, his apostles, and the Four Evangelists.
[ Hagop Kevorkian, New York (sold 1918)]
Stohlman, W. F. "A Group of Sub-Sidamara Sarcophagi." American Journal of Archaeology: The Journal of the Archaeological Institute of America 25, no. 3 (July-September 1921). pp. 223-232.

Morey, Charles Rufus. "The Sarcophagus of Claudia Antonia Sabina and the Asiatic Sarcophagi." In Roman and Christian Sculpture. Publications of the American Society for the Excavation of Sardis, V, Vol. 5, part 1. Princeton, New Jersey: American Society for the Excavation of Sardis, 1924. p. 46, fig. 81.

Lawrence, Marion. "Columnar Sarcophagi in the Latin West: Ateliers, Chronology, Style." The Art Bulletin 14, no. 2 (June 1932). pp. 116, 183-185, fig. 14, 14cf.

Ferrari, Gloria. Il commercio dei sarcofagi asiatici. Studia archaeologica, Vol. 7. Rome: L'Érma di Bretschneider, 1966. p. 64.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 26, no. 5 (January 1968). no. 9, p. 200.

Ostoia, Vera K. The Middle Ages: Treasures from the Cloisters and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1969. no. 1, pp. 16-17, 251.

McCann, Anna Marquerite. Roman Sarcophagi in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1978. no. 22, pp. 130-131.

Weitzmann, Kurt, ed. Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979. no. 238, pp. 255-256.

Netzer, Nancy. "Modes of Remembering the Classical Past." In Memory and the Middle Ages, edited by Nancy Netzer, and Virginia Reinburg. Chestnut Hill, Mass.: Boston College Museum of Art, 1995. p. 8, fig. 1.

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