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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Relief of the Graeco-Roman Figural-Landscape Type
Work Type
2nd century CE
Roman Imperial period, Middle
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Yellow marble (giallo antico)
actual: 6.2 cm, 0.04 cm (2 7/16 in.)

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of David M. Robinson
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Published Catalogue Text: Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums , written 1990

Relief of the Graeco-Roman Figural-Landscape Type

The stone is broken away at the left front. The original edge, with an incised vertical line, is preserved at the right. The piece is smoothed in back. The carved surfaces of the relief are worn, and a section has been gouged out from the subject's neck to his waist, including the left arm.

A tiny figure is seated, leaning on a staff. A table is in front of him. The relief is fragmentary. When complete, it may have been mounted like a large, decorative cameo, the Grande Camée de France for instance. The relief may be Roman, of the second century A.D. The somewhat emaciated old man was interpreted by David M. Robinson as Seneca. The left shoulder and lower part of his body are draped, and he is partly bald. The rendering of the pupil of the eyes and of the eyebrows suggest the date, within the century following the philosopher's forced suicide in the reign of his pupil Nero.

Cornelius Vermeule and Amy Brauer

Publication History

  • Johannes Sieveking, "Ein Darstellung des Seneca?", Walter de Gruyter and Co. (Berlin and Leipzig, 1921), pp. 351-354
  • Fogg Art Museum, The David Moore Robinson Bequest of Classical Art and Antiquities, A Special Exhibition, exh. cat., Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, 1961), p. 28, no. 219
  • Cornelius C. Vermeule III and Amy Brauer, Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 112, no. 99

Exhibition History

  • The David Moore Robinson Bequest of Classical Art and Antiquities: A Special Exhibition, Fogg Art Museum, 05/01/1961 - 09/20/1961

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at