Celi Lebron Prof. William Behnken ART 1000 November 29, 2009 Sarcophagus with the Triumph of Dionysus and the Seasons A sarcophagus is a container or coffin that is used to bury dead human bodies. The most commonly used materials in the production of sarcophagi are marble (the finest and most expensive), stone, lead and wood. During the second century A.D, Roman funerary practices or traditions changed from the cremation of the bodies to the burial of the bodies.1 Originally, the Etruscans and the Greeks were the cultures that practiced the inhumation of burials. However, the change in Roman culture turned the production of sarcophagi to a luxury industry that was dominated by the regions of Metropolitan Rome, Attic and Asiatic. In the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) is found a well conserved and adorned threedimensional sarcophagus called: Sarcophagus with the Triumph of Dionysus and the Seasons. It was carved during the late imperial period, between the years 260 AD and 270 AD. The sarcophagus was found in Rome, and its first owner was the Cardinal Giulio Alberoni (16641752).2 In 1727, the Duke of Beaufort purchased the sarcophagus from Alberoni and installed it in the Badminton house in England. As a consequence, the sarcophagus adopted the name of the Badminton Sarcophagus. Finally in 1955, the MET purchased the sarcophagus from the Duke of Beaufort and installed it in its exhibitions of Greek and Roman Art, where it continues resting until today.
1. Heather T. Awan, "Roman Sarcophagi". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000) 2. Triumph of Dionysos and the Seasons sarcophagus [Roman] (55.11.5)". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000)
People could think that the Badminton Sarcophagus was made in the Eastern Mediterranean, because the material used for its carving is a type of marble found in Asia Minor, Phrygia. However, the reality is that this sculpture was carved in Rome, since it has the common Roman form or style of being decorated on only three sides (on the front and the two short sides)1, leaving one side without carving. Although the artist of this sarcophagus was unknown, it is known that sarcophagi of this type were based on patterns and drawings from sculptors¶ books. The most popular subject matters used in the decoration of Roman sarcophagi were carved garland of plants and fruits, and scenes from the Greek mythology such as wars, Greek gods and traditions.2 The Sarcophagus with the Triumph of Dionysus and the Seasons is a representation of these popular decorations. It has a total of forty human and animal figures, some of them mythological, along with fruit figures. All these figures are carved in a dimensional space of 34 x 85 x 36 ¼ in. In the front panel of the sarcophagus, the figure of the Greek god Dionysus, known as Bacchus for the Romans, can be seen. He is holding his scepter (the thyrsus) in his left hand and pouring wine with his right hand while he is riding a big beast that is in family of the cats. To the right side of Dionysus, there is the figure of a satyr (follower of the god Dionysus) that is holding the cup where the Greek god is pouring the wine. On each side of Dionysus, there are two male figures carved with contrapposto positions holding fruit baskets and one of the four is even
1.Heather T. Awan, "Roman Sarcophagi". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000). 2. Triumph of Dionysos and the Seasons sarcophagus [Roman] (55.11.5)". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000).
holding an animal in his right hand. Figures of little men, animals and fruits baskets are also carved in the background of the sarcophagus. On the rounded left end, the figure of the mother Earth sitting on the ground can be seen, along with a satyr and the figure of a young man holding a basket of fruits. On the...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document