Fragment of a pilaster decorated with vine scroll populated with cupids - ROM2011_11878_1


Fragment of a pilaster decorated with vine scroll populated with cupids

Geography: Pompeii, Napoli, Italy
Date: about 25–50 AD
Period: Roman Imperial period, reign of Augustus
54 x 28 cm
Object number: 930.157
Credit Line: No
On view
Gallery Location:Eaton Gallery of Rome: exposed architectural fragments

The Romans used marble extensively for large and small-scale sculpture. It was also their material of choice for inscriptions, funerary monuments, cinerary urns, sarcophagi, and specific architectural elements such as pilasters. The quarries at Carrara in northern Italy became the most important native source for Roman marble from the late 1st century BC.

This fragment was probably part of a door jamb and is to be viewed vertically. The profiled edges are decorated with an elaborate leaf-and-dart moulding. The central field contains two and a half convolutions of an elegant dainty scroll in low relief with a round petalled rosette in the top (incomplete) one, a fanciful flower with five-pointed petals below, and a less clear cluster-like formation in the bottom scroll. The field is populated with cupids and birds: a winged cupid playfully hangs from the uppermost rinceau holding it with two hands and one foot while another tries to support him from below; right of them, a bird of about the same size, stands on scroll; lower down, near right edge, another winged cupid standing on a fine tendril with left foot advances to left, stalking a bird also standing on tendril; another bird near left edge; at the bottom, a seated cupid to left examines a large flower issuing from left edge. Strewn throughout the field are four buds (three of a pomegranate like shape).

Roman World
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