A bonanza. The upcoming 2016 Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America (San Francisco, January 6-9) features three papers on ancient sarcophagi:
"Aphrodisian Sarcophagus Sculptors Abroad?"
Sarah Madole, CUNY-BMCC (session 1H)
"Who Bought Bucolic? Sheep, Cows, and Villas on Roman Sarcophagi"
Mont Allen, Southern Illinois University (session 1H)
"Local History, Lasting Legacy: The 'Alexander' Sarcophagus in Context"
Rachel Spradley, Southern Methodist University (session 5G)
Exhibition at Ordovas features marine sarcophagus beside works by Bacon, Courbet, Picasso, Mondrian, and others
As detailed by Artlyst, London's Ordovas gallery is exhibiting a collection of works on marine themes. Titled The Big Blue, it features a fragment of an Antonine marine sarcophagus showing a Nereid and Tritons (visible at the far right in the photos below), beside works by Francis Bacon, Gustave Courbet, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, Yves Klein, Damien Hirst, and others.
Although one wonders about the provenance of the piece, it is lovely to see a Roman sarcophagus celebrated for its relevance amidst such famous modern company.
The show remains on display until December 12.
As reported by the Tribune de Genève — and later covered in greater detail by the Tages-Anzeiger (many thanks to Christian Russenberger for the link) — a Swiss public prosecutor has ordered that a Roman sarcophagus deposited in the Geneva Freeport warehouse in 2010 and subsequently seized by Swiss Customs during an inventory check later that year be returned to Turkey.
The piece itself is exquisite: a creamy Docimean specimen, likely Antonine in date, showing the Twelve Labors of Hercules.
As detailed in earlier blog posts (here, here, and here), Metropolitan sarcophagi (i.e., those from the city of Rome itself) devoted to the Labors of Hercules typically array the hero's first ten labors on the front of the chest in narrative order, with the eleventh and twelfth depicted on the short ends, and nothing on the back (as usual for Metropolitan works), This piece, in contrast, strews the vignettes around all four sides — as expected for an eastern product — in no discernable order.