The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Friday, November 17, 2017


Sotheby's announces highlights from the November Sale of Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art
A Marble Sigma-shaped Table with Relief Border depicting Birth of Aphrodite&Marine Thiasos, Eastern Mediterranean, late Romanearly Byzantine, Theodosian Period, circa 390-430 A.D. Est.£400-600,000. Courtesy Sotheby’s.


LONDON.- Covering an unprecedented spectrum of objects from Classical Greece and Rome to Ancient Egypt and the Near East, Sotheby’s November sale of Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art brings to life past civilisations. With estimates ranging from £800 to £400,000, the sale presents an opportunity for first time buyers as well as seasoned collectors.

A Roman Marble Head of Ganymede, circa 1st Century A.D. (est. £250,000-350,000)
One of the most finely carved Roman marble heads to be offered at auction in recent history, this portrayal of divine hero Ganymede is the only known copy of a lost Classical Greek original sculpture. The youthful face is depicted with parted lips and heavy-lidded eyes, his long wavy hair parted in the centre and falling in corkscrew curls over the sides and nape of the neck, the ear-flaps of his Phrygian cap pulled up and knotted at the back.

A Marble Sigma-shaped Table with Relief Border depicting the Birth of Aphrodite and a Marine Thiasos, Eastern Mediterranean, late Roman/early Byzantine, circa 390-430 A.D. (est. £400,000-600,000)
The most complete of all known Byzantine marble table tops with relief-decorated borders, this extremely rare table is exceptional in a number of respects. It is almost entirely preserved save a few fragments in the central flat area. Indeed, it was never tampered with – the fragments not permanently joined together and the reddish layer of incrustation covering almost the entire surface was not cleaned off. Unusually depicting Aphrodite with maritime themes, it promotes magic, fertility, love and success to be pondered on during feasts and musical or theatrical performances.

Early Byzantine table tops with relief decoration were produced by various workshops along the Eastern Mediterranean during a relatively short period time of about 40 years or so, during a period sometimes known as the Theodosian Renaissance. The subjects of their relief decoration vary from Christian symbols or imagery derived from Biblical episodes, to purely Pagan mythological iconography, such as the deity and fantastic sea-creatures used on this object.

A Roman Black Marble Herm Head of Hermes, circa 2nd century A.D. (est. £35,000-45,000)
Son of Zeus and Maia, Hermes is the protector of travellers and the messenger of the gods, for his speed abilities. As their herald, he accompanied the dead in the afterlife, and he was called Psychopompós (conductor of souls). In Rome, he was known as Mercury and was the god of commerce. This sculpture is a typical archaistic representation of Hermes, distant from the classical and Hellenistic representation of gods and heroes. The face is taken up with a long rounded beard composed of four tiers of volute curls ending at his high cheekbones, with wavy hair radiating from the crown.

A fragmentary Onyx Cameo of Athena Parthenos, circa 1st Century A.D., or later (est. £12,000-18,000)
This miniature jewel-like cameo is one of the most exquisite renderings of the cult goddess Athena Parthenos. The artistic sensitivity is unparalleled, accompanied by a close regard to details – the virgin goddess adorned with a pendant earring and her helmet decorated with a couchant sphinx and prancing horses. The object is a welcome addition to the testimonia regarding the lost but renowned massive gold and ivory statue of the goddess Athena, created by Phidias and housed in the Parthenon in Athens. It stood in the Parthenon until the 5th century AD when it was removed by Romans, and since then only the general appearance can be assessed from images on coins and miniatures.

A Roman Marble Strigillated Lion Breakfast Sarcophagus, Rome, with 18th Century Restorations, circa 260-280 A.D. (est. £60,000-80,000)
This fully restored sarcophagus carries carefully cut out ancient figural relief fragments – each lion boldly carved pinning its prey down, one a quadruped, the other a wild boar, and looking back with fierce expressions and gaping jaws.

A Roman Marble Funerary Altar inscribed for Mystes and Dorius, 1st Century A.D. (est. £40,000-60,000)
This refined carving is emblematic of the early principate, complete with a carving of twins Romolo and Remo with the Lupa – a central motif in the myth of Roman foundation. The inscription refers to the slave of a prominent noble family in Rome, the Gens Volusia. The object has extraordinary provenance, having been part of two illustrious collections in Rome in the 16th century – the Mellini collection and the Cesi Collection.

A Large Bronze Figure of Osiris, 1075-716 B.C. (est. £50,000-70,000)
This striking figure of the Egyptian god of life, death and the afterlife was formerly in the prestigious collection of Edward Drummond Libbey, the founder of the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio. It presents the powerful mythological Osiris shrouded in his cloak, holding the crook and flail and wearing the atef-crown.






Today's News

November 13, 2017

Major exhibition of Dutch masters opens at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Lost portrait of Nelson discovered by Philip Mould & Co.

"Treasures of the Earth: Mineral Masterpieces from the Robert R. Wiener Collection" opens at the Bruce Museum

Major exhibition celebrating the life and work of Frederic William Burton on view at the National Gallery of Ireland

Exhibition of works by some of the greatest masters of Avant-Garde opens in Bologna

Bonhams to offer an impressive array of 275 watches and wristwatches

Sotheby's announces highlights from the November Sale of Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art

Controversial Da Vinci is New York auction season star

Blurring gender lines in the ancient world at Bonhams Antiquities Sale

Berggruen Gallery opens an exhibition of new paintings by American artist Christopher Brown

New art foundation will develop digital catalogue raisonnés of Egon Schiele and other artists

Regen Projects opens an exhibition of new and recent work by Jack Pierson

Contemporary Fine Arts open their first exhibition with Maki Na Kamura

Exhibition of architectural drawings by Sergei Tchoban on view at the Architecture and Design Museum

Parrasch Heijnen Gallery opens a career survey of Tony DeLap's work

Celaya Brothers Gallery opens exhibition of works by Agostino Iacurci

Hayward Gallery Touring presents a new exhibition of prints by Cornelia Parker

Clémence de La Tour du Pin installs exhibition 13 meters underground

The gold medal Nobel Prize for Chemistry awarded to George de Hevesy to be auctioned at Morton & Eden

Russia's pre-Revolutionary estates crumble in neglect

Sierra Leone unearths 476-carat gem in new diamond find

110-Carat Round Diamond joins Sotheby's December Jewelry Auctions in New York

Petzel Gallery opens a solo exhibition by London-based artist John Stezaker

Modern Art Oxford opens major exhibition of works by Hannah Ryggen

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