Where will you rest when you die?
Have you ever thought what your coffin will look like when you pass away?
I spent a whole afternoon starring at the gorgeous sculptures at the MET. Fascinated by the intricacies and drama of each piece, I lost myself in the surroundings of our ancient civilizations.
The collection of Greek and Roman art at the Met holds more than seventeen thousand pieces, ranging from the Neolithic period to the time of the roman emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in A.D. 312.
It is one of the most comprehensive collections in North America.
I want to share with you a little bit of the ancient Roman’s funerary art, Sarcophagi, impressive monuments carved with Greek mythology.
Roman, about A.D. 220 – 230
Dionysos on a Panther with his attendants the four seasons as winged youths.
Tellus (The Earth) and Oceanus (A River), reclining. Probably found in Rome.
Here is a close-up:
Marble sarcophagus with garlands
Roman, Severan period, ca. A.D. 200-225
This one is adorned at the front and sides by garlands of oak leaves, supported by two erotes and four Victories.
Do you see the Medusa heads filling the spaces above the garlands?
At the center of the front there is a blank inscription tablet.
Along the front lid, six erotes hunt wild animals. You can see the details if you click on the picture, which will take you to my flickr account, where the original size is.
Marble strigilated sarcophagus
Roman, Late Severan, ca. A.D. 220
The marble on this piece is Proconnesian, imported from northwestern Asia Minor.
The lions heads are very impressive, they look hungry, gggrrrrrr, and furious.
I read on the museum notes that this kind of design is very distinctive, and it’s restricted largely to sarcophagi produced in the city of Rome. I love the effect of the front panels.
This piece was missing its lid.
Marble sarcophagus lid with reclining couple
Roman, Severan period, ca. A.D. 220
The couple represents water and earth. The woman is holding a garland and two sheaves of wheat, characteristics of Tellus, goddess of the earth. The man is holding a long reed, and there is some sort of lizard creature next to his left arm.
The wife’s head is unfinished. Apparently this means that her husband died before her, and no one added her portrait after she passed out of existence. Poor woman!
On the other hand, the details on the man’s head are amazing.
Marble sarcophagus with flying erotes holding a clipeus portrait
Roman, Severan period, ca. A.D. 190-200
The portrait center-high up, is of a soldier. He is wearing a military cloak. Tellus and Oceanus, the Earth and Ocean, are reclined below him.
There are figures of Eros and Psyche, personifications of the human soul, at each end of the sarcophagus.
Marble sarcophagus with the myth of Endymion
Roman, Antonine period, mid-2nd century A.D.
Selene, the moon goddess, who crazily loved Endymion, gave him eternal youth with eternal sleep.
Would you want to be asleep if someone grant you eternal youth? I know, I wouldn’t.
The myth says that Selene visited Endymion every night, where he slept. Althought there are many stories to this myth. I read some time ago that Selene and Endymion had fifty daughters called Menae. Fifty! And the guy was asleep, huh?
Marble sarcophagus with the myth of Selene and Endymion
Roman, Severan period, early 3rd century A.D.
The lovers myth of Selene and Endymion became a popular funerary theme in Roman art.
If you notice on the lid, there is an inscription at the center, dedicated to a woman named Arria, by her daughter Anina Hilaria. The portrait of the deceased is carved to the right of the inscription. She looks very sad! I already asked my husband to have my portrait with a smile. I don’t want visitors looking at my sarcophagus getting all melancholic because of my weepy face.
Notice the carving on this piece, very deep, so beautiful.
There is Selene on the center, visiting her loverrr, Endymion. He is reclining at the right. Very dramatic pose, he holds!
The female figure over him is pouring out the magic potion of immortality.
Marble sarcophagus with garlands and the myth of Theseus and Ariadne
Roman, Hadrianic or Early Antonine period, ca. A.D. 130-150
The four seasons of the year are carved on the lid of this piece. Erotes driving taxis,
ok, maybe chariots, pulled by animals. Bears with spring, lions with summer, bulls with fall, and boars with winter.
On the front there are four erotes carrying seasonal garlands.
The garlands are formed by flowers, grapes, pomegranates, laurel and wheat.
If you blow out the picture, you’ll notice the three episodes between the bundles are from the myth of the Greek hero Theseus.
From left to right: “Adriadne giving a thread to Theseus at the entrance to the labyrinth, Theseus slaying the Minotaur, and the sleeping Ariadne abandoned on the island of Naxos, where she will be awakened by the god Dionysos to become his immortal bride.”
Limestone Jewish ossuary with lid
Roman, Jewish, 1st-3rd century A.D.
Ossuaries were used for the burial of bones after the departed’s body had disintegrated.
You could notice the chest was decorated with non-figural design.
Photography copyright of Alba H. Rodriguez
I recently spent a few days in The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I was camping at the Great Hall when one of the security guards asked me to leave, they had to kick me out of it. Ok, it didn’t happened that way. But it actually took me 3 days to see the entire museum.
It’s so inspiring to be surrounded by an immense collection of art.
I finally got the motivation I needed to pick up my brushes, dust my easel and start painting again.
There’s something for everyone at The Met, with a collection of more than two million works of art.
Thousands years of world culture, from prehistory to present days and from every part of the globe. You could immerse yourself in whatever interest you.
The Met is located in New York City’s Central Park along Fifth Avenue (from 80th to 84th Streets).
It’s very easy to find it. I walked from 59th street, the first day, to get there, just to warm up my calves and take some pictures of Central Park.
The visitors desk offers maps, tours, brochures, and assistance in many languages, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish.
There are also restaurants, a bookshop, gift shops and even bars.
I tried the cafeteria’s food, it was very good and affordable.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit New York City, stop by The Metropolitan Museum.
Just make sure to check the museum hours before showing up.
Also, wear comfy shoes.
Get ready for hours of history.
And even good food.
Alba H. Rodriguez
Alba H. Rodriguez
So, we got some visitors at the White Rock Lake. American White Pelicans stop by every year and make Dallas lake their home. For a couple of months we get to enjoy these splendid creatures.
I tried to be patient to capture their beauty with my camera. It was hard, I got distracted so many times by their stunning feathers. They remind me of those immaculate wedding dresses.
I wonder how they keep their feathers so clean.
Here is one of a landing.
I like his short legs in this pic.
These two look funny next to each other.
They gather in groups of five or so.
Clearly, they enjoy each other’s company.
I love to see their wings spread out.
They catch their prey while swimming, that’s what I have observed so far. Unfortunately I could not get a good shot of it, maybe next time.
When the weather started acting up. It was cold, windy, very cold.
Did I mention it was cold?
We made some assumptions: “they are going to get burn”, I said.
“They are already dead! Forget it, we need to plant everything again”, my husband responded.
We decided to celebrate. After all, it was a snow day and we were together, our first spring day as a husband and wife.
Sipping hot Mexican chocolate, talking about our past and future, calling our family to share a beautiful snow day. That’s how we celebrated it.
Alba H. Rodriguez
Filed under: Photography
I got out of bed, early this morning, to find out, there was snow every where. Yes! It’s snowing in Dallas!
Yupiiiiiiiiii (Yupiiiiii is the short Spanish version for jumping of joy, in case you were wondering).
So, I took my camera out for a walk around the house. It was a walk inside the house.
Started shutting pictures through my windows, dirty windows. BTW, I need to add it to the list of things to do this 2010. Must clean the windows.
It looks like a B&W picture.
That’s my neighbors tree. So tall and beautiful.
Snow, snow, beautiful snow.
This one is mine, also tall and strong.
What a romantic day, I’m going to make hot chocolate. Maybe, some baking too.
There’s a guy outside.
He knocked at my window, I think he’s inviting me to come outside. Mmmhhh, that sounds like fun.
Ooohhh, wait, what is he trying to do?
Oh, no you are not!!!
Shooting snowballs at me?!!!!!
Oh, you think this is funny? Just wait!
Now, I’m going to get you!!!
You better run Mr.!
Yeah, like that little tree is going to protect you.
Alba H. Rodriguez
The pictures were taken in a small village in Veracruz, Mexico.
While waiting for our sugarcane juice to be made. Mr. Turkey came walking and passed right in front of us, modeling his feathers, like if he was part of an exclusive Christian Dior’s runway.
Maybe sad, or worried…
Could it be, scared?
He was about to perform a dance, you would think that dancing is always fun… well, he was about to dance on top of a pole, up to 150 feet high.
The Dance of Papantla’s flyers.
He is a flying man, trying to make a living.
Hairy, puffy and always on red bull, she comes and goes, jumping from one tree to the next.
These photos were taken from my window, she new I was watching her eating, she paused, ate some more…
She tries to hide…
Then she goes, shaking her large bushy tail.
Look at her, posing,
but only for a second or two…she has to run again,
Ok, just one more photo.
To the next tree, she goes…
Filed under: Photography
We took a walk through our neighborhood and look who I found, right in front of what I think is his house..
He’s always coming to visit me in the mornings, spying through my windows with his elegant walk, like he’s walking on the entrance of a red carpet event.
He was enjoying the day, “Mmmhhh, nice weather..meow
What? Is that you? I think, that’s you, yes, you lady, the new neighbor..”
“What are you doing?”
“Grrrrrr…. Are you spying on me?!” “You are, aren’t you?!”
“Yes, my eyes are BLUE, get over it.”
Arrogant cat. I know he likes me, how do you explain he looks through my windows every morning?