• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1915

    Antiquities

    6 December 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 192

    A ROMAN MARBLE MOSAIC PANEL

    CIRCA 3RD-4TH CENTURY A.D.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A ROMAN MARBLE MOSAIC PANEL
    CIRCA 3RD-4TH CENTURY A.D.
    The multicolored composition on a cream ground, preserving several species of marine life swimming in all directions, including a large dolphin, an octopus, several varieties of striped and solid fish, conch shells, and an eel, some fish pursuing prey, two with smaller fish clenched in their jaws
    87 in. (221 cm.) high x 70½ in. (193.8 cm.) wide


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    There is a long tradition in the Classical world of mosaics representing marine life. There are several earlier examples preserved from Pompeii, of which Dunbabin notes (Mosaics of the Greek and Roman World, p. 47), "They illustrate the interest of the Hellenistic artists in precise zoographical observation; their popularity also attests to the taste for live exotic fish fashionable in the fish-ponds of late Republican nobles, echoed at least in image by the Pompeian house-owners." For an example closer in style to the present piece see p. 190 in Cimok, ed., Antioch Mosaics.

    Provenance

    European Private Collection, 1975.