Three shepherds sarcophagus
Date: ca. 370–400
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): Italy
Dimensions: 72 × 223 × 112 cm
Description: This sarcophagus from the Praetextatus Catacombs in Rome is sculpted on all four sides, suggesting that it was designed for a location where visitors could walk around it (e.g., a mausoleum). Among the lush vines and scenes of cherubs making wine stand three "good shepherd" figures on pedestals, each holding a sheep draped over his shoulders. It is not clear from the imagery alone if the sarcophagus was commissioned for a Christian or Pagan patron. The good shepherd was a popular motif in Roman funerary decoration that was later adapted in early Christian art.
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 1
Repository and Online Resources: • This sarcophagus is now in the Vatican Museums. • For more views, visit the page for this object on the Kornbluth Photography website.
Image Credits: Genevra Kornbluth