Relief from a Season sarcophagus with two winged cupids

Roman
Imperial Period
about A.D. 280


Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 248; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 113 (additional published references).

Dimensions

Overall: 70 x 57 x 17cm (27 9/16 x 22 7/16 x 6 11/16in.) Weight: 83.92 kg (185 lb.)

Accession Number

58.584

Medium or Technique

Marble, probably from the island of Proconnesos in the Sea of Marmara

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

Two winged youths or genii personify the seasons Summer and Autumn. Summer holds a basket of flowers and fruits, and another basket lies at his feet. Autumn has returned with his barking hound from the hunt and holds the captured hare and a cornucopia. A small Eros and another hare filling the spaces at the feet of the larger figures. The Seasons themselves express the cycle of life in terms of nature, a tradition of representation often evident in Greek mythology. The scene was completed by Winter and Spring on the left front and, perhaps, two more winged genii supporting the image of the deceased, represented as a tondo bust, in the center.

The right edge has been cut away evenly at the corner; the left front has been cut more irregularly. The remaining surfaces are damaged and considerably weathered.

Provenance

By about 1600 to 19th century at least: in the Palazzo Giustiniani (now Palazzo Madama) collection (the complete side of the sarcophagus is illustrated in P. Kranz, Jahreszeiten-Sarkophage, pl. 34); by date unknown: Abraham C. Webber Collection (acquired in an antique shop on Cape Cod); by date unknown: Mrs. Abraham C. Webber Collection; gift of Mrs. Abraham C. Webber to MFA, June 5, 1958

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Abraham C. Webber in memory of Mr. Abraham C. Webber