From Musei Capitolini (Rome)
Cast of sarcophagus (of Gerontia) with front panel showing Endymion and Selene
Photo: R.A.
© Copyright protected
Click here to order image/reproduction rights
 
Cast of sarcophagus (of Gerontia) with front panel showing Endymion and Selene
Plaster cast, 345 X 1345 X 80 mm
04/304
 Add to Lightbox

The cast is of the front of the chest of a small sarcophagus, now in the Capitoline Museum, Rome. It shows a detailed version of the impossible love story of the shepherd, Endymion, and Selene, the goddess of the moon. He is always asleep when she arrives at night. The story was popular on Roman sarcophagi because it was a metaphor for the separation of loved ones created by death and their appearance in dreams.

This particular sarcophagus is thought to have been made in the earlier second century and then re-used in the early fourth century for a girl named Gerontia. Many of the details (for example, the fallen herm, the chained dog, the decorated arch) have suggested to some scholars a further re-working in the Renaissance.

This work is currently on display in the South Dining Room, Keeper's House, Royal Academy of Arts.