A sarcophagus is a coffin for …

10 October 2018

A sarcophagus is a coffin for burials, widely used throughout the Roman empire. It is also known as flesh eater in Greek. Sarcophagus is a wonderful example of roman funerary art. Marble sarcophagus with the Triumph of Dionysos and the Seasons was from the period of Late Imperial, Gallienic, ca. A.

D. 260–270. It is made up of marble which was very expensive. The dimension is overall 34 x 85 x 36 1/4 in. The sculpture is displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Greek and Roman Art gallery. Marble Sarcophagus represents Dionysus on a Panther with his attendants, the four seasons as winged youths, Tellus (The Earth) and Oceanus (A river).The sarcophagus with the Dionysos and the Seasons is a high relief sculpture, in which figures extends at least halfway out of the background.

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This technique creates a strong shadowing and overlapping of the figures which make it seem like the objects are projecting out of the background. Dionysus is the main focal point of the sarcophagus. He is the only one riding the panther and holding the thyrsus which makes him different from the others and it clearly shows hieratic scale. He is pouring wine with his left hand while there is another man on the right side who is holding the cup. The two men on each side of the god are standing in profile view position. The men in the sarcophagus has soft bodies except only one man who is on the right of the god. The limbs, torso and head are all proportional to each other.

The sarcophagus is decorated with 40 figures and each figure has the same facial structure. They are holding fruit and flower baskets. The guy on the left side is holding two birds and the guy on the right side is holding a rabbit. There is no female figure on the sculpture. No restoration is needed for the sculpture because the damage is minimal. If observed carefully the sarcophagus is slightly cracked in some places but it is not noticeable. There are four young boys seen at the bottom.

A young boy is seen taking care of a sheep and others are offering flowers to the adults. On the bottom right corner on the rounded area of the sculpture there is a bearded man who is holding fruits. All the figure in the sarcophagus has curly hair and wearing flower crowns. The facial structure and the poses are the same, but they are looking in different directions and angles. The attendants of the gods are naked. They have clothing only on the upper part of the body. On the other hand, the god in the middle is fully covered.

Overall the picture shows interactions between the god Dionysus and his attendants.The artist used design elements and principles such as size, techniques, composition, forms/shape, space, color, texture, emphasis, rhythm and harmony to form the structure and convey the visual message to the audience. The sarcophagus is large because it is a life-sized sculpture.

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