Relief from a Season sarcophagus with two winged cupids
about A.D. 280
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 248; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 113 (additional published references).
Overall: 70 x 57 x 17cm (27 9/16 x 22 7/16 x 6 11/16in.) Weight: 83.92 kg (185 lb.)
Medium or Technique
Marble, probably from the island of Proconnesos in the Sea of Marmara
Not On View
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.
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
Gift of Mrs. Abraham C. Webber in memory of Mr. Abraham C. Webber