Fragment of a sarcophagus with the myth of Kore-Proserpina

Sarcophagus/ fragment

Class and production: funerary items

Subject: mith of Kore-Proserpina

Cultural context: Roman period

Date: first half of the 3rd century A.D.


Fragmented relief from a sarcophagus. Two heads are preserved: a male head sculpted in bas-relief and a female one in high-relief. The male head is partially preserved. It presents the profile of a man with curly hairs and probably wearing a large hat. The female head has a veil with an ears crown on the top. The details of both the figures (large hat, ears crown) usually indicate the mythological figures of the god Hermes Psychopomp (i.e. guide of souls in the afterlife) and of the goddess Kore (also called Proserpina), Demeter’s daughter (who was kidnapped by Pluto, the god of the Underworld, to be his wife). According to stylistic and technical details (such as the intensive use of the drill) this work has been attributed to the 3rd century A.D.

Materials and techniques: Greek islands marble

Dimensions: height 14 cm, lenght 23 cm

Provenance: Mantova Benavides Collection, Padua; Vallisneri Collection, Padua

University of Padua, Museum of Archaeological Sciences and Art

Cat. Number: MB91


  • Rosada Guido, Frammento di sarcofago di età severiana nel «Liviano» di Padova, in Atti dell'Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, CXXXIII (1974-1975), pp. 153-171.
  • De Paoli Marcella, 29.Frammento di sarcofago di età severiana, in Un Museo di Antichità nella Padova del Cinquecento. La raccolta di Marco Mantova Benavides all'Università di Padova, a cura di Irene Favaretto, Alessandra Menegazzi, Roma, Giorgio Bretschneider, 2013, p. 52.