Marble sculptures

Recommended lots

Sarcophagus fragment; Roman Empire, 3rd century AD. Alabaster. Measurements: 56 x 24 cm. Fragment of Roman sarcophagus of oriental style, carved in half bulk in alabaster and dated in the 3rd century A.D. It represents a female figure standing, naked, with the left arm bent and supported on the hip and the left arm extended to the side. At the feet of the figure we see a vessel with a balustered body. The woman appears standing on an architectural base supported by straight corbels, reminiscent of a classical entablature. The composition is topped by an upper frieze with a relief representation of a fantastic animal in profile, a hybrid beast with the wings and hindquarters of a lion, depicted in an expressive position with its head turned backwards, thanks to the stylized snake neck, which defines an elegant curve. The Romans brought two important novelties to the world of sculpture: the portrait and the historical relief, neither of which existed in the Greek world. However, they followed Greek models for much of their sculptural production, a base that in Rome would be combined with the Etruscan tradition. After the first contacts with the Greece of classicism through the colonies of Magna Graecia, the Romans conquered Syracuse in 212 BC, a rich and important Greek colony located in Sicily, adorned with a large number of Hellenistic works. The city was sacked and its artistic treasures taken to Rome, where the new style of these works soon replaced the Etruscan-Roman tradition that had prevailed until then. Shortly afterwards, in 133 B.C., the Empire inherited the kingdom of Pergamon, where there was an original and thriving school of Hellenistic sculpture. The huge Pergamon Altar, the "Gallus committing suicide" or the dramatic group "Laocoön and his sons" were three of the key creations of this Hellenistic school. On the other hand, after Greece was conquered in 146 B.C. most Greek artists settled in Rome, and many of them devoted themselves to making copies of Greek sculptures, very fashionable at that time in the capital of the Empire. Thus, numerous copies of Praxiteles, Lysippus and classical works of the 5th century B.C. were produced, giving rise to the Neo-Attic school of Rome, the first neoclassical movement in the History of Art. However, between the end of the 2nd century BC and the beginning of the 1st century BC there was a change in this purist Greek trend, which culminated in the creation of a national school of sculpture in Rome, from which emerged works such as the Altar of Aenobarbus, which already introduced a typically Roman narrative concept, which would become a chronicle of daily life and, at the same time, of the success of its political model. This school will be the precursor of the great imperial art of Augustus, in whose mandate Rome became the most influential city of the Empire and also the new center of Hellenistic culture, as Pergamon and Alexandria had been before, attracting a large number of Greek artists and craftsmen. In the Augustan era Rome contributed to the continuity and renewal of a tradition that had already enjoyed centuries of prestige, and which had dictated the character of all the art of the area. In this new stage, Greek aesthetics and technique will be applied to the themes of this new Rome. After the idealization of the Augustan era, the realism of the Flavian era and the subsequent baroque style of the second and third centuries, Roman sculpture, marked by the presence of Christianity, tended to dehumanize, to become more ideal and symbolic. The concern for realism was lost, and there was a tendency towards a schematization that sought to capture the ideal, the soul or the divinity, and not the human aspect of the figures. The carving, in correspondence with this new aesthetic, acquires a great hardness, and the figures acquire a noble hieratism.

Estim. 2,800 - 3,000 EUR

Figure of Silvanus; Roman Empire, 2nd century AD. Marble. Provenance: private collection, Los Angeles, USA, mid-1990s at Quatrain Inc; private collection, London, acquired in New York, 2015; private collection, Madrid. In good state of preservation. It has lost half of its head, the lower part of its legs and the cypress trunk that it held in its right hand. Measurements: 46 cm. Roman sculpture in marble representing Silvanus, a tutelary spirit of the fields and forests. In relation to the forests, he presided especially over the plantations and enjoyed the trees that grew wild, which is why he is represented (as on this occasion) carrying the trunk of a cypress tree. Regarding this tree, however, the following story is told: Silvanus was in love with the young Cipariso. Fortunately, he once accidentally killed a doe that belonged to him. Cipariso died of grief and was transformed into a cypress tree. The Romans brought two important innovations to the world of sculpture: portraiture and historical relief, neither of which existed in the Greek world. However, they followed Greek models for much of their sculptural production, a base which in Rome was combined with the Etruscan tradition. After the first contacts with Classical Greece through the Magna Graecia colonies, the Romans conquered Syracuse in 212 BC, a rich and important Greek colony in Sicily, which was adorned with a large number of Hellenistic works. The city was sacked and its artistic treasures taken to Rome, where the new style of these works soon replaced the Etruscan-Roman tradition that had prevailed until then. Shortly afterwards, in 133 BC, the Empire inherited the kingdom of Pergamon, where there was an original and thriving school of Hellenistic sculpture. The huge Pergamon Altar, the "Gallus committing suicide" or the dramatic group "Laocoön and his sons" were three of the key creations of this Hellenistic school. On the other hand, after Greece was conquered in 146 BC, most Greek artists settled in Rome, and many of them devoted themselves to making copies of Greek sculptures, which were very fashionable at the time in the capital of the Empire. Thus, numerous copies of Praxiteles, Lysippus and classical works of the 5th century BC were produced, giving rise to the Neo-Attic school of Rome, the first neoclassical movement in the history of art. However, between the end of the 2nd century BC and the beginning of the 1st century BC there was a change in this purist Greek trend, which culminated in the creation of a national school of sculpture in Rome, which produced works such as the Altar of Aenobarbus, which introduced a typically Roman narrative concept that became a chronicle of everyday life and, at the same time, of the success of its political model. This school would be the forerunner of the great imperial art of Augustus, during whose reign Rome became the most influential city in the Empire and also the new centre of Hellenistic culture, as Pergamon and Alexandria had been before it, attracting a large number of Greek artists and craftsmen. In the Augustan era Rome contributed to the continuity and renewal of a tradition which had already enjoyed centuries of prestige and which had dictated the character of all art in the area. In this new phase, Greek aesthetics and technique were applied to the themes of this new Rome. After the idealisation of the Augustan period, the realism of the Flavian era and the subsequent Baroque style of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, Roman sculpture, marked by the presence of Christianity, tended to dehumanise, becoming more ideal and symbolic. The concern for realism was lost, and there was a tendency towards a schematisation that sought to capture the ideal, the soul or the divinity, rather than the human aspect of the figures. The carving, in keeping with this new aesthetic, acquired a great hardness, and the figures acquired a more realistic and symbolic quality.

Estim. 28,000 - 30,000 EUR

Fragment of Greek stele, 4th century BC. Hardened limestone. Measurements: 31 x 34 cm. Fragment of a Greek funerary stele, dated to the 4th century BC and carved in limestone, representing two seated figures, a man and a woman. It is probably a representation of the deceased couple, although we can notice the presence of a third figure, who rests his arm on the shoulders of the male character. Both figures are dressed in tunics, the woman with a veil over her head and the man with a cloak. They are represented in serene and balanced but naturalistic attitudes, showing the progress towards realism and expressiveness of Greek sculpture of the Hellenistic period. Hellenistic sculpture represents the final period of the evolution of Greek sculpture, and developed in the period between the death of Alexander the Great, in 323 B.C., and the conquest of Egypt by the Romans, between 30 and 31 B.C. It is an eclectic, secular and historicist language, which takes as its starting point the heritage of classical sculpture of the previous period, to which new oriental influences are added. It also meant the improvement of the representation of the anatomy and human emotional expressiveness, as well as a fundamental change in aesthetics, which leaves aside the ideal to represent the individual, moving from the generic to the specific. Thus, the previous ethical and pedagogical ideal is abandoned in favor of a new emphasis on everyday human aspects, in an art that will have the aesthetic as its main purpose, although occasionally it will also be propagandistic. This new interest in man and his inner life, his emotions, problems and longings, will result in a realistic style that has to emphasize the dramatic, the prosaic and movement. In addition, Hellenism brought the first individualized and plausible portraits of Western art. The subject matter will also be expanded to include depictions of old age and childhood, minor non-Olympian deities and secondary characters from mythology, as well as popular figures in their daily work.

Estim. 3,200 - 3,500 EUR