Grave Relief of a Silversmith

Object Details

Title:

Grave Relief of a Silversmith

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Roman

Place(s):

Roman Empire (Place created)

Date:

first quarter of the first century

Medium:

Marble

Dimensions:

79.9 x 58.5 x 31.7 cm (31 7/16 x 23 1/16 x 12 1/2 in.)

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"Publius Curtilius Agatus, freedman of Publius, and silversmith" reads the inscription on this Roman funerary relief. Portraits such as this one were placed in the facades of family tombs lining the roads out of Rome, advertising the social and professional status of the deceased to all who passed by. The portrait's format and style are typical of the funerary reliefs commissioned by freed slaves. Beginning in the 100s B.C., slaves were brought to Rome in large numbers. Like Publius Curtilius Agatus, many slaves were skilled professionals; he appears here in his role as a silversmith, making a small cup. Portraits of freed slaves in this period often show a combination of styles. The face of Publius Curtilius Agatus, with hollow cheeks, furrowed brow, and deep naso-labial folds, harks back to a "warts and all" style of portraiture favored by nobles in the Roman Republic. The hair, however, is an up-to-date Augustan court style. In portraits like this one, freed slaves used an aristocratic but old-fashioned visual vocabulary to express their new status as Romans.

Provenance
by 1986 - 1987

The Merrin Gallery (New York, New York), sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1987.

1987 - 1996

Barbara Fleischman

and Lawrence Fleischman, American, 1925 - 1997 (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.

Exhibitions
A Passion for Antiquities: Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman (October 13, 1994 to April 23, 1995) (178)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), October 13, 1994 to January 15, 1995
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art, (Cleveland), February 14 to April 23, 1995
Artisans of Ancient Rome: Production Into Art (September 11, 1997 to November 2, 1998) (178)
  • The Newark Museum, (Newark), September 11, 1997 to November 2, 1998
Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004) (178)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004
Ancient Luxury and the Roman Silver Treasure from Berthouville (November 19, 2014 to June 18, 2017) (178)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, (Malibu), November 19, 2014 to August 17, 2015
Bibliography

The Majesty of Ancient Egypt and the Classical World. Edward H. Merrin Gallery, Inc. New York: 1986. p. 27.

True, Marion, and Kenneth Hamma, eds. A Passion For Antiquities. Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman. The J. Paul Getty Museum. Malibu: 1994. pp. 336-38, cat. no. 178.

Auth, Susan H. Artisans of Ancient Rome: Production into Art. The Newark Museum, September 11, 1997 through December 1998. A Checklist and Bibliography. Newark: 1997. p. 2.

"Museum Acquisitions Between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1998." The Report of the J. Paul Getty Trust, 1997-1998. p. 63.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002) p. 155.

Niemeyer, Barbara. Die silbernen Halbkugelbecher vom Typ Leuna (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2004) pp. 38, 83. abb. 32.

Mattusch, Carol C., et al. Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples, exh. cat. (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, with Thames & Hudson, 2008) p. 40, fig. 8.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010) p. 146.

Di Mauro, Alberto. Italy Art LA, educational brochure (Los Angeles: Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles, 2012) p. 24.

Related Media
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    Audio: Grave Relief of Silversmith, feat. Kenneth Lapatin