Relief with an old man and a siren
2nd century A.D.
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 115; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 109 (additional published references).
Overall: 40.3 x 40 x 10.2 cm (15 7/8 x 15 3/4 x 4 in.) Weight: 20.41 kg (45 lb.) Mounted: 12.7 cm (5 in.)
Medium or Technique
Marble, probably from Hymettos
Not On View
The upper left third, including the head of the “Lasa” and the left elbow of the sleeping man, is missing. The surfaces are worn and discolored with incrustation.
A winged female with large bird feet is about to bestride a sleeping old man. He has spread his cloak in a rocky landscape, a tree with Pan-pipes hanging from a branch, a rustic altar and a herm of Pan appearing at the upper right. The old man’s staff, wicker produce basket, and sack for food or water lie beside him, the basket being used as a partial pillow. The winged creature holds a small vessel in her extended left hand. She is pouring something, perhaps a draught of the potion or drug which brings nightmares or perhaps a superabundance of wine that induced the old man’s dream.
Harvard Lab No. HI777: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.11 / delta18O -2.00, Attribution - Hymettos, Justification - Fine grained marble with greenish sparkle in surface.
The Siren, a winged female with bird’s feet, descends upon a sleeping old traveler, who has spread his cloak in a rocky landscape beside a rustic sanctuary. His straw purse, his staff, and his sack lie beside him. The Siren pours something over him, perhaps wine or a drug to induce dreams. A rough altar and a herm of Pan, god of the fertility of flocks, appear at the upper right. Pan-pipes hang from a tree or vine springing from the altar.
By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to his records: formerly in the Greau and Froehner collections and bought in Paris); 1908: gift to MFA from Fiske Warren and Edward Perry Warren; accessioned 1910
Gift of Fiske Warren and Edward Perry Warren