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Funerary altar

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek


The altar is made of white marble. Tip of each nose (on the half-figured double portrait of a married couple), the columns (flanking the portrait) and the edges slightly damaged; the woman’s right thumb has been broken off. Traces of red paint are visible to the naked eye in the inscription and the mouth of the dog beneath the double portrait.

Description of object

The front of the funerary altar bears a half-figure double portrait of a married couple. They are holding each other’s right hands (dextrarum iunctio). He is dressed in a toga, she is wearing a sleeveless tunica. The portrait is surrounded by an architectural frame in the form of an aedicule, with a triangular pediment supported by columns. The columns are spirally fluted, and in the pediment there is a wreath bound with long ribbons, the ends of which curve round flanking Heads of Medusa. The inscription is below the couple’s portrait. To the left of the inscription is the figure of a chained dog. The two sides both show a tree, the fruit of which is being eaten by birds. At the foot of the tree is a young boy trying to climb up. The relief on the back of the altar is a more recent addition.

Choice of methods

Visual examination

  • Macroscopic


F. Poulsen (1951), Catalogue of Ancient Sculpture in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, cat. no. 797.

J.S. Østergaard (1996), Catalogue. Imperial Rome. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 42-43, cat. no. 13.

  • IN 861
  • Altar
  • c. 130 C.E.
  • Roman Imperial
  • White marble
  • Bought in 1890.
  • H. 90 cm.; W. 55 cm.; D. 43 cm.

Selected photos

  • Img_7028_red