Large Sarcophagus with the Muses (Fragmentary Right Half)

Unknownmid-3rd century

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Fragments of panels from a sarcophagus. Front. A curtain pulled across the background is fastened in several places beneath the projecting border at the top. In the right corner, Melpomene with the mask of tragedy. The mask has a lion skin, representing Herakles, drawn over it. She wears a long-sleeved chiton with a wide belt, and a chlamys over her shoulders. To the left, the celestial globe of Ourania (the muse herself is missing). The globe has three stars and a middle strip bearing a crab. Next to Ourania would have been a seated man; only traces remain today. Continuing leftwards, Euterpe holds the tibiae (pipes) with both hands. She wears a sleeved chiton trimmed with tassels at the hem. A second chiton on her shoulders is tucked under her belt. To her right remains part of a pilaster. Beside her is Thalia, wearing a close-fitting netlike garment with a mantle wrapped around her lower body. A bulla is around her neck and she wears open-toed shoes. In her left hand, she holds a lagobolon concealed by her cloak, and in her right, a comic mask. The figure to the left is Terpsichore. She wears a chiton completely enveloped by a himation, and holds a lyre in her left hand. Her right arms lies across the shoulder of a seated woman (perhaps the deceased) who wears a himation and whose foot rests on a foot-stool. She reaches to touch the strings of Terpsichore's lyre. Right end. In low relief, the upper body of bearded man wearing a mantle. His right arm hangs down, and in his left, he holds a rotulus. There is a small club between his left forearm and body. At the far right, perhaps, remains of a tree. Below lies a bundle of book rolls (indicating a tragic poet?).

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  • Title: Large Sarcophagus with the Muses (Fragmentary Right Half)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: mid-3rd century
  • Physical Dimensions: 137 x 224 cm (53 15/16 x 88 3/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Thasian? marble, crystalline white
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Object Type: Sarcophagus
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 72.AA.90
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Antiquities
  • Culture: Roman
  • Classification: Sculpture


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