Ca. 150 CE.
L. 149 cm; H. 47.5 cm. Inv. No. Ma 659.Paris, Louvre MuseumPhoto by Ilya Shurygin
Ca. 150 CE.
L. 149 cm; H. 47.5 cm.
Paris, Louvre Museum.
M(arco) Cornelio M(arci) f(ilio) Pal(atina) Statio P fecer[unt
To Marcus Cornelius Statius, son of Marcus, of the Palatine tribe, p(arents?) made (this sarcophagus).
Sarcophagus Marcus Cornelius Statius
Rounded at the head side this child’s sarcophagus has been reassembled from many fragments. The front panel is, however, in fairly good condition, with a few missing pieces reconstructed from Carrara marble. This sarcophagus is among the earliest of the few examples that show various stages in the life of a child. Above the epitaph are four scenes from the young boy’s life. First he appears as an infant, wearing a short tunic bound at the waist with several cloth bands and being nursed by his mother. She sits in a large armchair wearing a stola and has a waved hairstyle gathered into a chignon. A man with a beard and moustache, dressed in a toga over a long tunic, with calcei on his feet, rests his elbow on a pillar and tenderly contemplates this domestic scene, leaning his head on his right hand and holding a scroll in his left. In the second scene, the same man is shown full face, holding the slightly older baby in his arms: this time the child is wearing a long tunic and playing with an object. Next the child is represented as a little boy, wearing a short toga over his tunic and driving a child-sized chariot drawn by a goat. In the final scene, he stands reciting his lesson in front of his father, who is seated, legs crossed, on a chair with a curved back. Both father and son hold a volumen, a papyrus or parchment roll. It has been suggested that the woman may be a hired nurse and the bearded man a tutor, but the realism of the representation suggests these are actual people rather than standardized prototypes. It is more likely that these are the parents of the young Cornelius Statius and that they wanted the sarcophagus to evoke memories of the daily life they shared with their departed son.