Mosaic with personifications of Pleasure and Wealth

Early Byzantine Period
6th century A.D.

Place of Manufacture: Eastern Mediterranean (possibly Turkey or Syria)

Catalogue Raisonné

Highlights: Classical Art (MFA), p. 130-131.


Overall: 134.6 x 83.8 cm (53 x 33 in.) Framed (Aluminum frame 3/16"thick( designed as a cookie pan): 130.2 x 81.3 x 5.7 cm (51 1/4 x 32 x 2 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Stone and glass tesserae

Not On View


Europe, The Ancient World



The mosaic depicts two personifications seated on a bench or couch, the woman with her head turned slightly to her left, and wearing a long short-sleeved robe, armlet, bracelet, pearl necklace and wreath of flowers, the Greek inscription APOLAU[SIS] (“Pleasure”) above her, the man with this head turned slightly to his right, and wearing a long robe with dotted clavi and jeweled crown, gold coins escaping from his open right hand, the Greek inscription PLOUTO[S] (“Wealth”) in the field above.

Once part of a rectangular panel featuring a series of couples personifying the good life, pleasure, and wealth. Such personifications were especially popular from the 5th and 6th centuries in early Byzantine mosaics, and this panel undoubtedly once formed part of a domestic floor mosaic.


By 1967, Beurdeley et Cie., Paris [see note 1]. By 1969, Barling of Mount Street Ltd., London [see note 2]. April 27, 1976, anonymous sale, Christie, Manson and Woods, London, lot 153. June 7, 2005, anonymous sale, Sotheby’s, New York, lot 66, sold to Royal-Athena Galleries, New York [see note 3]; sold by Royal-Athena Galleries to George D. and Margo Behrakis; 2006, gift of George D. and Margo Behrakis to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 22, 2006)

NOTES: [1] Advertised as part of the “Exposition de Mosaiques de l’Ecole d’Antioch” at Beurdeley et Cie., Connaissance des Arts, no. 185 (July 1967), p. 23. [2] In the dealer catalogue of 1969, cat. no. 1, as possibly from the area north of Antioch. [3] Published in Art of the Ancient World, vol. 17 (2006), p. 71, no. 149, as from Antioch on the Oronte and having been in a private collection, New York.

Credit Line

Gift of George D. and Margo Behrakis