Free Essay

Museum Report: Sarcophagus with Scenes from the Life of Achilles

In: Other Topics

Submitted By sickofthis
Words 955
Pages 4
Sarcophagus with Scenes from the Life of Achilles; artist anonymous;
180-220 AD; marble, very high-relief carving, some elements are sculpture in the round;
52x83x57 in; well preserved with some damages on the right and left sides.

I. This is a three-dimensional rectangular object with a massive lid that has a shape of a flat couch with two figures reclining on it. Even though both figures look alike and their faces are unfinished, they are slightly different. The figure in the front is a female. She has long hair, small breast, and a round face. The other figure is a male. He has a beard; details of his face are more masculine and angular. Both figures have long clothes. All four sides of the rectangle are carved. The back is not visible because the object is placed up against the wall. The central figure on the front relief is a man holding a big shield. He steps into a chariot with two horses and listens to another man who probably shows him a direction. Another naked male figure is on the ground. He seems to be tied up to the chariot. There are other male figures on this relief; some of them are naked, and others are dressed. They all are in different movement postures. On the right side is a relief of a young naked male with a big shield. His right leg is in front; his head is turned to the opposite direction. He is probably leaving and is looking at those who stays. A woman puts her hands around the young man's neck and falls on her knees. On the right side is a bearded half dressed man seating on a chair with three women by his side. There is another bearded man on the left in a hat. All are looking at the young man. The relief on left side doesn't have much action. The central figure is a man in a helmet with a shield behind him. He is being help by other men: one is in the front, and the other is on the side attaching some details to his garments. II. This work of art has a three-dimensional form. The front section is highly polished and has a very smooth texture. The right and left sections have some damages; therefore, their textures are rough. The space on the front and right sections is fully used. Their scenes are very dynamic. The proportions of some figures were not completely observed. For example, horses on the relief in the front are very small comparing to humans. Another example is the man on the left section. The sculptor had to give him an unnatural posture awkwardly bending his legs, so that the man did look taller than the central figure. III. The subject-matter of all three visible sides of the sarcophagi is the scenes from the Achilles' life. He is a Greek mythical hero of the Trojan War. The subject-matter of the relief on the right is the discovery of Achilles hiding among the daughters of Lykomedes. According to the myth, Achilles’ mother, Thetis, wants to prevent her son's death and sends him to the court of Lykomedes on the island of Skyros where Achilles is hidden among the young girls. Soon he is discovered by Odyssey (the bearded man on all three relieves) with whom he goes to Troy. On the relief in the front, Achilles mounts his chariot to drag Hector's body before the walls of Troy. Hector was the son of the Trojan king Priam. Hector mistakenly killed Achilles' friend Patroclus. Overwhelmed by his grief, Achilles kills Hector. The relief on the left side depicts Achilles putting on his armors with Odysseus' help. The relief in the back is unfinished and is not visible. Its subject-matter is the scene of the battle between the Greeks and the centaurs, which is unrelated to the Achilles' life. IV. Cremation was the most common funerary practice in Roman Empire. Under the influence of Christianity, inhumation became widespread by the third century CE. As a result of this shift, a sudden demand for sarcophagi and their decoration arose. Sarcophagi were subject of commerce in Roman Empire. Some of them were custom made, but the majority were manufactured in workshops and stored until a "customer" was found. Therefore, the faces of the couple on the lid are unfinished: features of deceased and other details could be added later. V. This sarcophagus could belong to the Greek culture. First of all, the subject-matter of this work of art was taken from the myth about the Greek hero Achilles. Second of all, people on this work of art look alike, and none of them has any emotions except for the archaic smile that is inherent to Archaic Greek sculptures. Many males are nude. This is another feature of Greek sculptural art called heroic nudity. Wet drapery is another originally Greek element. All this aspects identify this sarcophagus as Greek work of art, but we should remember that Romans were great admirers of Greek art. They copied many Greek sculptures and adopted their sculpture techniques and traditions. Moreover, sarcophagi were not used in Greece. The Greeks buried deceased in graves. Inhumation was Roman funerary practice. This sarcophagus was probably made in Greece, but this work of art belongs to Roman culture. Bibliography:

James Hunter, Achilles, Encyclopedia Mythica, “n.d.” 1997, revised 2005,, May 5 2012.

Kleiner, Fred S. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: A Concise Western History (Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2010).

Toynbee, J.M.C. Death and Burial in the Roman World. (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1971).

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Tyranny of Guilt; an Essay on Western Masochism (2010)

...Th e T yranny of Gui lt • Pa s c a l B ru c k n e r Translated from the French by s t ev e n r e n da l l The tyranny of Guilt An Essay on Western Masochism • P r i n c e t o n u n i v e r si t y P r e s s Princeton and Oxford english translation copyright © 2010 by Princeton university Press First published as La tyrannie de la pénitence: essai sur le masochisme occidental by Pascal Bruckner, copyright © 2006 by Grasset & Fasquelle Published by Princeton university Press, 41 William street, Princeton, new Jersey 08540 in the united kingdom: Princeton university Press, 6 oxford street, Woodstock, oxfordshire OX20 1TW all rights reserved library of congress cataloging-in-Publication data Bruckner, Pascal. [tyrannie de la pénitence. english] The tyranny of guilt: an essay on Western masochism / Pascal Bruckner; translated from the French by steven rendall. p. cm. includes index. isBn 978-0-691-14376-7 (cloth : alk. paper) 1. civilization, Western— 20th century. 2. civilization, Western—21st century. 3. international relations—Moral and ethical aspects. 4. Western countries—Foreign relations. 5. Western countries—intellectual life. 6. Guilt 7. self-hate (Psychology) 8. World politics. i. title....

Words: 64873 - Pages: 260

Free Essay

Eva Ibbotson - a Company of Swans

...She was a thin girl, brown-haired and brown-eyed, whose gravity and gentleness could not always conceal her questing spirit and eagerness for life. Sensibly dressed in a blue caped coat and tarn o'shanter bought to last, a leather music case propped against the wall beside her, she was a familiar figure to the passers-by: to ancient Dr. Ferguson, tottering across the willow-fringed bridge in inner pursuit of an errant Indo-Germanic verb; to a gardener trimming the edges of the grass, who raised his cap to her. Professor Morton's clever daughter; Miss Morton's biddable niece. To grow up in Cambridge was to be fortunate indeed. To be able to look at this marvelous city each day was a blessing of which one should never tire. Harriet, crumbling bread into the water for the world's most blase ducks, had told herself this again and again. But it is not cities which make the destinies of eighteen-year-old girls, it is people— and as she gazed at the lazy, muddy river and thought of her future and her home, her eyes held an expression which would have better become a little gutter starveling— a bleak and shipwrecked look devoid of happiness and hope. Professor Morton was already in his forties when, at a reading party in Switzerland, he met an English girl working as a governess to the children of a Swiss industrialist...

Words: 97572 - Pages: 391

Free Essay

Child Labour

...Questions Quiz 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 Carl and the Passions changed band name to what How many rings on the Olympic flag What colour is vermilion a shade of King Zog ruled which country What colour is Spock's blood Where in your body is your patella Where can you find London bridge today What spirit is mixed with ginger beer in a Moscow mule Who was the first man in space What would you do with a Yashmak Who betrayed Jesus to the Romans Which animal lays eggs On television what was Flipper Who's band was The Quarrymen Which was the most successful Grand National horse Who starred as the Six Million Dollar Man In the song Waltzing Matilda - What is a Jumbuck Who was Dan Dare's greatest enemy in the Eagle What is Dick Grayson better known as What was given on the fourth day of Christmas What was Skippy ( on TV ) What does a funambulist do What is the name of Dennis the Menace's dog What are bactrians and dromedaries Who played The Fugitive Who was the King of Swing Who was the first man to fly across the channel Who starred as Rocky Balboa In which war was the charge of the Light Brigade Who invented the television Who would use a mashie niblick In the song who killed Cock Robin What do deciduous trees do In golf what name is given to the No 3 wood If you has caries who would you consult What other name is Mellor’s famously known by What did Jack Horner pull......

Words: 123102 - Pages: 493