Abduction of Proserpine

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Abduction of Proserpine
Second half of 2nd century A.D.
sculpted marble

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The sarcophagus decorated in high relief illustrates the Abduction of Proserpine. The different episodes, The pursuit of Ceres, Proserpine surprises to gathering the flowers, Pluto’s escape with Proserpine, attend by Diana and Minerva, consecutivaly represented, give unity to the narrative. On the short left side there are two handmaidens of Persephone and a male character, while on the right is Pluto sitting on the throne with a dog close his feet; next to him Proserpine, with the face covered by a veil, symbolises the mystery of the Underworld. The story refers to the myth of Proserpine arrival on earth that brings with herself the breath creator of rebirth, coinciding with the spring, and of her return to Hades, corresponding to winter seasons. The box was reused as Christian burial and mythological theme reinterpreted as the journey to the Underworld of the immortal soul.


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