Fragment of funerary relief: Cerberus

Greek, South Italian
Early Hellenistic Period
about 320–280 B.C.

Place of Manufacture: South Italy, Probably from Tarentum

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), no. 013.


Height: 27 cm (10 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Europe, The Ancient World



Cerberus faces right. He is straining at a lead that was once connected (in paint) to his three collars. He was undoubtedly being restrained by Herakles standing at the left, the imprint of his left foot remaining beside the paws on the ground area. The farthest of his three heads is well preserved. Two of the heads wear collars. The dogs resemble mastiffs. The middle head of the dog is looking upward at the diagonal torch, hand, and arm (all badly damaged and worn) of Artemis Bendis, who was standing at the right.
The smaller of the two fragments (now rejoined) comprises a horizontal groundline jutting forward with the remains of the animal’s hind paws on the surface. The limestone has a yellow patina.


By 1971: Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius C. Vermeule III Collection (gift from Chantel Christou); gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius C. Vermeule III to MFA, December 1986

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius C. Vermeule III in the Name of Cornelius Adrian Comstock Vermeule