Greek Marble Relief with a Banquet Scene
An ancient Greek marble relief with a funerary banqueting scene framed by an architectural structure. The deceased, a bearded man reclining on a couch, is accompanied by his wife, family, and attendants. He raises a large animal-shaped rhyton (drinking vessel), while a nude youth to the right holds a pitcher over a large vessel holding wine. A draped female figure sitting at the foot of the couch, resting her feet on a footstool, represents the wife of the deceased. She puts incense into a box on a two-legged table, which also holds cakes or loaves of bread. At the far left a pair of adults with two children may represent additional family members or mourners. A partial Greek inscription is preserved along the architrave, PEISIDAM, the name of the deceased, Peisidamos.
Late Classical - Early Hellenistic Period
Banquet scenes were used for Greek funerary reliefs, as well as votive dedications to the gods. These scenes first appear on Greek reliefs in the 6th century BC, and by the 4th century BC are found all over the Greek world, from Asia Minor to South Italy. Although the early reliefs may have been dedicated to the gods, from the 4th century onwards, it seems that ordinary mortals were depicted on their own funerary reliefs. As in most grave sculpture of this period, the figures are not actual portraits, but instead represent generalized types.
Cf. Walters Art Museum, inv. no. 23.222, published in Ellen D. Reeder, Hellenistic Art in the Walters Art Gallery (Baltimore, 1988), cat. no. 14; National Archaeological Museum, Athens, inv. no. 1532, published in Nikolaos Kaltsas, Sculpture in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens (Athens, 2002), cat. no. 482.
Formerly in a Rhode Island private collection.
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