Fountain basin with a reclining river god

Roman
Imperial Period
A.D. 98–138


Place of Manufacture: Italy

Catalogue Raisonné

Highlights: Classical Art (MFA), p. 136.

Dimensions

Overall: 66 x 88 x 74 cm, 408.2 kg (26 x 34 5/8 x 29 1/8 in., 900 lb.) Framed (Steel tube palette /four gusset angles for lifting): 7.8 x 90.5 x 74.3 cm (3 1/16 x 35 5/8 x 29 1/4 in.) Block (Rolling wooden pedestal includes steel palette): 91.4 x 102.2 x 142.2 cm (36 x 40 1/4 x 56 in.)

Accession Number

2002.21

Medium or Technique

Marble from Carrara, Italy

On View

Classical Roman Gallery (Gallery 213)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

Lustral double basin with a bearded river god (the Nile) with wreathed hair swept back in a bun, nude apart from a cloak draped over his legs, holding a cornucopia in his left hand, a scroll (?) in his right. The god’s left elbow reclines against a female sphinx (head missing), and his right foot rests against a rock; he is flanked on either side by a small shrine recessed for a statue (now missing), with pedimented tiled roof, decorated with an inverted double bound lotus flower in relief within each pediment, and a tall date palm carved in relief on either side. The deep slanting inner basin, into which water entered from a slit below the reclining deity, fits into a square basin with plughole; the front panels are recessed and decorated with two relief rings at each end. The back of the fountain has three holes for the introduction of water into each of the arched shrines.

Scientific Analysis:

University of South Florida Lab No. 8450: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.2 / delta18O -2.1,

Attribution - Carrara. Justification - C and O isotopes, fine grain, white with flecks of gray.

University of South Florida Lab No. 8451: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.4 / delta18O -2.0,

University of South Florida Lab No. 8452: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.3 / delta18O -2.0,

University of South Florida Lab No. 8453: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.3 / delta18O -2.0,

University of South Florida Lab No. 8454: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.3 / delta18O -2.0,

University of South Florida Lab No. 8455: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.3 / delta18O -2.0,

Attribution - in all five cases, Carrara. Justification - C and O isotopes, fine grain, white with flecks of gray.

Provenance

Known since the late 17th century and published in 1724 with a drawing by M. Fritsch in B. De Montfaucon, L'antiquité expliquée et illustrée en figures, Vol. Suppl. III, pl. 63; by about 1802: Collection of 4th Earl of Darnley, Cobham Hall, Kent, England (probably brought from Italy); photographed at Cobham Hall by Cornelius Vermeule in 1954; by late 1950s or 1960s: with Spink & Son, 5, 6 & 7 King Street, St. James's, London; by date unknown: possibly in the Binney Collection, Kent?, England; by date unknown: private collection, Richmond, Surrey, England; by November 2001: with Christie's South Kensington, 85 Old Brompton Road, London, SW7 3LD, England; November 7, 2001: purchased by MFA at Christie's auction 9244 (Nov. 7, 2001, lot 332); accessioned: February 27, 2002

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds by exchange from a Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry P. Kidder, a Gift of Thomas Gold Appleton, a Gift of Edward Jackson Holmes, a Gift of Mrs. Francis C. Lowell, Otis Norcross Fund, and a Gift of Edward Perry Warren