Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Sarcophagus Lid with Last Judgement

Date:
late 3rd–early 4th century (?)
Culture:
Roman
Medium:
Marble
Dimensions:
16 × 93 1/2 × 2 5/8 in., 228 lb. (40.6 × 237.5 × 6.6 cm, 103.4 kg)
Classification:
Sculpture-Stone
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1924
Accession Number:
24.240
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 300
One of the earliest translations of biblical verse into image appears on the front of this sarcophagus lid. Christ, bearded and wearing a pallium (mantle), welcomes eight sheep to his right with a warm gaze and gentle pat, and with a raised hand he rejects the five goats to his left. The composition evokes the Gospel parable of Christ during the Last Judgment "separat[ing] people . . . as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats" (Matt. 25:31–46). The scroll bundle and costume that present Christ as a philosopher imbue him with learned authority. At this time, integrating bucolic and classical philosopher imagery was popular, so the workshop that carved this scene could have arranged similar figures differently for the decoration of non-Christian sarcophagi.
Count Grégoire Stroganoff (d. 1910), Rome; [ Giorgio Sangiorgi, Rome (sold 1924)]; [ Brummer Gallery, Paris and New York (sold 1924)]
Muñoz, Antonio. Pièces de Choix de la Collection du comte Grégoire Stroganoff à Rome: Volume 2, Moyen-Âge – Renaissance – Époque Moderne. Rome: Imprimerie de l'Unione Editrice, 1912. p. 112, pl. LXXXIV, figs. 2–3.

Forsyth, William H. A Brief Guide to the Mediaeval Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1947. p. 3.

Rorimer, James J., and William Holmes Forsyth. "The Medieval Galleries." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 12, no. 6 (February 1954). p. 121.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Guide to the Collections: Medieval Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1962. fig. 1.

Beeson, Nora B., ed. Guide to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. no. 2, p. 210.

Knudsen-Morgan, Sandra. "The Age of Spirituality." Apollo 107, no. 191 (January 1978). p. 18, fig. 16.

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. 501, p. 558.

Brenk, Beat. "The Imperial Heritage of Early Christian Art." In Age of Spirituality: A Symposium, edited by Kurt Weitzmann. New York and Princeton, New Jersey: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1980. p. 45, fig. 11.

Howard, Kathleen, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1983. no. 1, pp. 338-39.

Husband, Timothy B., and Charles T. Little. Europe in the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. no. 10, pp. 24-25.

Howard, Kathleen, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. 2nd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994. no. 1, pp. 372-73.



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