George Mason University Plaster Cast Collection
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Cast no.50

Dublin Core


Cast no.50


Frieze of garlands and putti.
Origin unknown.
Rome, Vatican Museums, Gabinetto delle Maschere no. 444.
L 46 in., H 9 in.
Metropolitan Catalogue: Cast no. 2028.
Cast Location: Robinson B359 hallway

This relief is part of a frieze showing putti (cherubs) holding up an intricate garland of myrtle and ivy, pomegranates, quinces, nuts, pinecones, seed-pods, and flowers - bound together by a ribbon. In the center of the fragment, a bouquet of flowers is tied with a ribbon. An egg-and-dart design lines the top and bottom.

This type of frieze originated in a popular type of Roman sarcophagi, known today as "Garland Sarcophagi." Yet this is not an ancient relief: the ribbons and the crest-like design in the center show that it is far more likely to be from the Renaissance. It is displayed in the Vatican by itself. This motif decorates tombs, but it was also used to ornament fireplaces, furniture, even the facades of buildings. The popularity of such designs has continued until today, and viewers may recognize putti and garlands in, for example, the relief decoration on a fiberglass garden planter!

~Lucy R. Miller

Bibliographic Citation


See Walther Amelung, The Sculpture of the Vatican Museums, vol. 2 (Berlin, 1908), 80, nos. 444, 444a. Fig. 50.


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