Cast of sarcophagus (of Gerontia) with front panel showing Endymion and Selene
From: Capitoline Museums (Rome)
RA Collection: Art
On free display in South Dining Room
The cast is of the front of the chest of a small sarcophagus, now in the Capitoline Museum, Rome. It shows a detailed version of the impossible love story of the shepherd, Endymion, and Selene, the goddess of the moon. He is always asleep when she arrives at night. The story was popular on Roman sarcophagi because it was a metaphor for the separation of loved ones created by death and their appearance in dreams.
This particular sarcophagus is thought to have been made in the earlier second century and then re-used in the early fourth century for a girl named Gerontia. Many of the details (for example, the fallen herm, the chained dog, the decorated arch) have suggested to some scholars a further re-working in the Renaissance.
345 mm x 1345 mm x 80 mm
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