Roman Marble Familial Group

SKU: HQ.0031

Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: Imperial Period, 1st - 3rd century AD
Dimensions: 35.25" Length x 12" Width x 72" Height (89.5 cm x 30.5 cm x 182.9 cm)
Medium: Marble

A marvelous and massive stone relief depicting 2 male figures and a child, all draped in chitons and standing contrapposto with each of their weight on the left leg. All 3 of the figures are posed similarly, each with the right arm folded over the chest and right hand placed over the heart, as the left arm hangs to the side, gently bent at the elbow and the left hand rests above the thigh. Both hands of each figure seem to be touching the hems of their chitons. The figure to the left gazes outward from deep-set eyes beneath a furrowed brow. His face shows signs of age with a bulbous nose, prominent nasolabial folds, and a thin mouth, all topped by a shortly cut coiffure. The child stands below the right figure, also wearing a short coiffure.

Private Beverly Hills California, USA collection; ex-Westreich collection, Rancho Santa Fe, California, USA and previously on display in Chevy Chase, Maryland, USA, acquired on the London art market and imported into the US in 1985.

This example may represent a family; such reliefs were often commissioned by recently enfranchised slaves and their families as a way of establishing the social and familial identity and relationships that had been legally denied to them.

Marble statuary, reliefs, and cladding were ubiquitous in the Roman world, as the remains of the preserved cities at Herculaneum and Pompeii demonstrate. Their sculpture was intended to conjure human vitality, and was inspired by the works of Polykleitos, who became the model to which sculptors aspired in Greco-Roman as well as later Western European art. Greco-Roman statuary, unlike that of the other Mediterranean civilizations like Egypt, Persia, etc., celebrated the naturalistic human form. This included representations of their gods, who appear as if living people, dressed as if they are elite citizens. For example, the famous statue of Hades with Cerberus, his three-headed dog, today on display at the Archaeological Museum of Crete, has an extremely realistic quality despite its fantastical nature, down to the details on each dog head. This suggests an intriguing, more personal relationship with the gods rather than the more abstract or magical portrayals of other contemporary societies.



Roman Marble Familial Group


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