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The Season Sacrophagus in Dumbarton Oaks

George M. A. Hanfmann

Dumbarton Oaks Studies

Art, Art History, Byzantine Studies, Byzantine History

Rarely does a study springing from a single piece of sculpture achieve such wide and valid implications in the history of artistic thought. Starting with the Roman Season Sarcophagus at Dumbarton Oaks, Mr. Hanfmann first explores the immediate origins of this type of sepulchral decoration. Then, following its development in late Roman art and its special application to the Christian idiom in the third and fourth centuries, he discovers the path leading to the formation of early Byzantine and early medieval seasonal representations.

With painstaking economy the author surveys the archaic and classical Greek, the Hellenistic, and the Roman imperial and late Roman representations of the seasons, relating each to the particular literary and historical environment of its era. In the last chapter, the role of the seasons is traced through late antiquity and early medieval art, and finally through modern art and letters down to Thomson’s Seasons.

The second volume includes the notes, catalogue, indices, and plates.


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