Department of Classics

Hercules, Histrionics, and a Dead Husband:

Thu, February 12, 2009 | ART 1.120

4:00 PM

This paper focuses on Cubiculum N in Rome's Catacombs of Via Latina. Featuring a series of wall-paintings depicting its deceased inhabitants as Alcestis and Admetus, it dates from ca. 350-370 CE. The classicist Beverly Berg was the first to point out that the tomb itself was likely commissioned by the wife, who strove to demonstrate her erudition by allusions to Euripides' drama Alcestis. The presence of Alcestis in funerary art from the late Empire and late antiquity is not particularly rare; more unusual, however, may be the manner in which our unnamed female patron conceived of a dynamic and histrionic relationship between an ancient play, the circumstances of her own life, and the active viewing space of an ancient catacomb.

Sponsored by: Department of Art and Art History

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