Front panel of the sarcophagus of Marcus Cornelius Statius with scenes from the life of a child
Ca. 150 CE.
L. 149 cm; H. 47.5 cm.
Inv. No. Ma 659.Paris, Louvre MuseumPhoto by Ilya Shurygin

Front panel of the sarcophagus of Marcus Cornelius Statius with scenes from the life of a child.

Ca. 150 CE.
L. 149 cm; H. 47.5 cm.
Inv. No. Ma 659.

Paris, Louvre Museum.

Private collection, Campana.
Unknown (presumably Ostia Antica). From the Campana collection. Since 1861 in the Louvre. Restored by V. Picur in 2006.
CIL XIV 4875

M(arco) Cornelio M(arci) f(ilio) Pal(atina) Statio P[3] 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.

(From the Louvre catalogue, entry by Pascale Carpentier, p. 136).
© 2013. Photo: Ilya Shurygin.
Data: museum annotation.
Keywords: epigraphia epigraphy inscription iscrizione epigrafia epigraphik epigrafik inschrift épigraphie roman romano romana romani römisch römische romaine gravestone funerary inscriptions epitaph in pietra tombale epitaffio grabstein-inschrift de pierre épitaphe γλυπτική sculptura sculpture sculptural scultura skulptur ρωμαϊκό römisches römischen römischer romain romains romaines κηδεία funeral funeraria funerario begräbnisskulptur beerdigung funéraire σαρκοφάγος σαρκοφάγους sarcophagus sarcophagi sarcofago sarcofagi sarkophag sarkophage sarcophage sarcophages βιογραφική σαρκοφάγος vita humana biographical biografico biografischer lebenslauf-sarkophag biographique ανακούφιση relief rilievo marble marmo marmor marbre μάρμαρο from the campana collection collezione sammlung latin latino lateinisch λατινικά of marcus cornelius statius a child child’s life-cycle baby infant boy lad breastfeeding nursing mother suckling father son furniture armchair chair female male garment garments clothes clothing outerwear stola long short tunic toga footwear footgear ankle boots bootees calceus calcei cupboard cabinet roll scroll chariot kid he-goat billy goat harness gear wheel riding crop whip knout training marco cornelio marci filio palatina statio p fecerunt cil 14 xiv 4875 inv no ma 659