Fragment of marble vase: Dionysiac symbols

Roman
Early Imperial Period
1st century A.D.


Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 313.

Dimensions

Height x width: 16.5 x 18.5 cm (6 1/2 x 7 5/16 in.)

Accession Number

01.8215

Medium or Technique

Marble from Carrara in northwest Italy

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

The rim is preserved above; the other edges are broken irregularly. The surfaces are clean and fresh.

There is a grapevine above, a satyr’s head and a thyrsos fill the lower right, and a pedum appears at the left, between where the handles once were. The bases of these vine-stem handles are visible above and below the remains of the pedum. The lip is enriched with a delicate fillet and head, leading to a series of flat ovolos or eggs and darts. The quality of the carving is dry but excellent, giving every indication of paralleling the best decorative work from Hadrian’s villa at Tivoli. In a garden in the sunlight the whole vase must have presented a striking effect, for the marble is almost translucent.

This vase, or the bowl from which the fragment comes, is a reduced version of the famous Warwick vase, said to have come from Villa Adriana and in reality cleverly composed in the Piranesi style from a few ancient fragments.

Scientific Analysis:
Harvard Lab No. HI717: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.74 / delta18O -2.86, Attribution - Carrara, Justification - White, fine grained marble.

Provenance

By 1901: with E. P. Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought in Rome.); purchased by MFA from E. P. Warren, December 1901

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund