The mirror is decorated with a scene from Greek mythology—Europa and the Bull (who represents Zeus/Jupiter in disguise). Such classicizing subjects were popular on Roman mirrors made principally during the Antonine period, and examples have been found in many distant parts of the Empire. With its mythological scene and gilded surface, this work is therefore a good example of the material wealth and comfort enjoyed by many ordinary people under the pax romana, the peace, stability, and prosperity provided by Rome.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1978. "One Hundred Eigth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 1977 through June 30, 1978." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 108: p. 45.
1978. Fine Egyptian, Classical, Western Asiatic and Islamic Antiquities. February 17, 1978. lot 47, pp. 12–13.
von Bothmer, Dietrich. 1979. "Greek and Roman Art." Notable Acquisitions (Metropolitan Museum of Art), No. 1979/1980: p. 16.
Milleker, Elizabeth J. 1988. "The Three Graces on a Roman Relief Mirror." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 23: pp. 76–77, figs. 17.