EARLY CHRISTIAN SCULPTOR, Italian
(active mid-4th century in Rome)

Sarcophagus of Marcus Claudianus

c. 350
Stone
Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome

The continuous-frieze sarcophagus of Marcus Claudianus shows New Testament scenes on its front; and New and Old Testament scenes on its lid, along with pagan elements. The appearance of grape harvest imagery on the lid is ambiguous; it appears on pagan/secular and Christian sarcophagi with identical elements. From left to right on the lid: Jesus nativity scene, sacrifice of Isaac, inscription naming the deceased, image of the deceased as scholar, grape harvest scene.

Carvings on the front of the sarcophagus: Arrest of Peter, miracle of water and wine (with possible baptism reference), orant figure, miracle of loaves, healing a man born blind, prediction of Peter's denial, resurrection of Lazarus and supplication of Lazaruss sister.