• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2174

    Antiquities

    3 June 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 196

    A LATE ROMAN MARBLE SHEPHERD

    CIRCA 3RD-4TH CENTURY A.D.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A LATE ROMAN MARBLE SHEPHERD
    CIRCA 3RD-4TH CENTURY A.D.
    Striding with his left leg forward, his tunic falling across his torso and under his right arm, patterned with drilled stippling, with an animal skin fastened at his right shoulder, carrying a small recumbent lamb in the crook of his bent left arm, the remains of a support along the outer edge of his right leg; a mortise in the break along the neck for attachment of the now missing head
    17 3/8 in. (44.2 cm.) high


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    The early Christians often adopted pagan iconography to express their beliefs, and, according to Vermeule (Romans and Barbarians, pg. 122), "One of the most popular adaptations of a pagan subject to Christian use was the shepherd with a lamb over his shoulders... It was probably unnoticed by pagan observers of some of the earliest catacomb paintings in Rome. The image was very special, however, whether as a reference to Salvation as prefigured in the 23rd Psalm, to the parable of the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-16), or the finding and cherishing of the one lost sheep in Luke 15:4-7."

    Provenance

    Joseph Brummer Collection, Part 2; Parke-Bernet, New York, 11-14 May 1949, no. 343.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY OF THE WADSWORTH ATHENEUM MUSEUM OF ART, SOLD TO BENEFIT THE EUROPEAN PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURE PURCHASE FUND


    Literature

    D.E. Miner, exhibition catalogue, Early Christian and Byzantine Art, an Exhibition Held at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, 1947, no. 27.
    Wadsworth Atheneum, Wadsworth Atheneum Handbook, Hartford, 1958, p. 22.
    Rose Art Museum, exhibition catalogue, Art of the Late Antique from American Collections, Waltham, 1969, p. 51.
    C.C. Vermeule, ed., Romans and Barbarians, Boston, 1976, p. 122.
    C.C. Vermeule, Greek and Roman Sculpture in America, Berkley and Los Angeles, 1981, p. 223.


    Exhibited

    Baltimore, Baltimore Museum of Art, Early Christian and Byzantine Art, organized by The Walters Art Gallery, 25 April - 22 June 1947, no. 27.
    Waltham, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Art of the Late Antique from American Collections, 18 December 1968 - 16 February 1969, no. 25.