Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Bowl Base with Miracle Scenes

ca. 350–400
Roman or Byzantine
Glass, gold leaf
Overall: Diam. 3/16 x 4 3/16 in. (0.5 x 10.7 cm)
Glass-Gold glass
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1916
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 300
Commemorations of the dead held at the deceased’s tomb focused on bidding farewell to loved ones and praying for the pardon of their sins and for their salvation. The catacombs of Rome—underground burial chambers used by all religions in the late Roman and early Byzantine era—are a particularly rich source of early Christian imagery. These images express Christian hopes of salvation. Here a beardless man dressed in a toga and the inscription “Live” are framed by miracle scenes. Beginning at the top and moving clockwise, these are Christ saving the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3), Christ healing the paralytic (Matthew 9:1–8), Tobias with the fish that the archangel Raphael advises him will help restore his father’s sight (Tobit 6), and Christ turning water into wine at Cana (John 2:3–10).
Inscription: ZES/ES: "Live!"
Said to have been found in 1715 in the Roman catacomb of Saint Callisto; [ Giorgio Sangiorgior son (sold 1916 through John Marshall)]
Boldetti, M. A. Osservazioni sopra i cimiterj de' santi martiri, ed antichi cristiani di Roma. Vol. 1. Rome: Presso Gio Maria Salvioni, 1720. pp. 197–99, pl. IV, fig. 7.

Garrucci, Raffaele. Vetri Ornati di Figure in Oro, Trovati Nei Cimiteri dei Cristiani Primitivi di Roma: raccolti e spiegati da Raffaele Garrucci. Rome: Tipografia Salviucci, 1858. p. 1, pl. 1, no. 1.

Garrucci, Raffaele. Storia della Arte Cristiana nei Primi Otto Secoli della Chiesal: Volume 3, Pitture non cimiteriali. Vol. 3. Prato: G. Guasti, 1876. p. 115, pl. 171, no. 1.

Vopel, Hermann. Die altchristlichen Goldgläser: ein Beitrag zur altchristlichen Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte. Archäologische Studien zum christlichen Altertum und Mittelalter, Vol. 5. Freiburg: J.C.B. Mohr, 1899. no. 85, pp. 16, 43, 68, 72, 75, 81, 99.

Avery, C. Louise. "Early Christian Gold Glass." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, o.s., 16, no. 8 (August 1921). p. 173, fig. 2.

Stern, H. "Les Mosaiques de Sainte-Constance." Dumbarton Oaks Papers 12 (1958). fig. 16.

Beeson, Nora B., ed. Guide to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. no. 5, p. 211, fig. 5.

Gómez-Moreno, Carmen. "Gold." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 31, no. 2 (1972–1973). pp. 107-109.

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. 388, pp. 430-431.

Lazaridou, Anastasia, ed. Transition to Christianity: Art of Late Antiquity, 3rd-7th Century AD. New York: Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA), Inc., 2012. no. 135, p. 164.

Howells, Daniel Thomas. A Catalogue of the Late Antique Gold Glass in the British Museum, edited by Chris Entwistle, and Liz James. London: British Museum Press, 2015. pp. 95–96, 111, pl. 68.

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