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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Glass fragmentary beaker with painted decoration

ca. 2nd century A.D.
Glass; blown, cut, and cold-painted
Overall (22.2.36): 3 15/16 x 2 1/2 in. (10 x 6.4 cm) Overall (22.2.37): 5 5/16 x 2 3/4 in. (13.5 x 7 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1922
Accession Number:
22.2.36, .37
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 168
Colorless; enamel-painted in blue, yellow, green, brown, brick red, and white.
Body with straight side, tapering downwards; band at bottom beveled by cutting.
Parts of three horizontal registers of painted decoration on exterior, divided by horizontal ground lines in yellow and red: at top, only part of a vertical object, possibly a leg and foot, in yellow and red survives; at center, two pairs of gladiators, one pair with round, the other with oblong shields - at left, a gladiator in a blue tunic defeats his opponent dressed in red, who has dropped his shield and falls backwards; above and between them a victory wreath and to either side small Greek letters, perhaps the names of the gladiators; at right, the gladiators are still fighting, the one to the left is dressed in yellow with his left leg also covered; only the large shield of his opponent has survived; at bottom, an animal hunt is depicted with two large cats at left - a blue-spotted leopard and a tawny yellow lion - and two deer fleeing to the left, one of which is being attacked from behind by the lion; in the field between the animals, patches of green indicate vegetation.
Two large conjoining fragments, broken on all sides; few bubbles; very little weathering.

Relatively few painted glass vessels have survived from antiquity. This example, although sadly incomplete, is decorated in a rich palette of colors with lively scenes representing gladiators and wild beast fights.
Probably from Eygpt

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1937. "Accessions of Greek and Roman Antiquities." Bulletin of the Metropolian Museum of Art, 32(7): pp. 176–77, fig. 3.

Smith, Ray Winfield. 1949. "The Significance of Roman Glass." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8(2): p. 59.

Sorabella, Jean. 2001. "A Roman Sarcophagus and its Patron." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 36: p. 59.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 442, pp. 378, 492, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

de Puma, Richard Daniel. 2013. Etruscan Art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 172 n. 6 [p. 314], New Haven and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Galitz, Kathryn. 2016. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. no. 36, p. 40, New York: Skira.

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