NEW YORK, NY.- Christie's
is pleased to announce the sale of Antiquities on June 3, which will offer nearly 200 lots with a particularly strong selection of Roman marbles, including a handsome marble herm bust of Menander and a massive red marble labrum. Other highlights include fine examples of classical Greek vases, both Athenian and South Italian alongside Egyptian and Near Eastern art.
Leading the sale is a massive Roman red marble labrum, circa 2nd-3rd century A.D. (estimate: $300,000-500,000). This impressive labrum is distinguished not only by its size, but also by its medium. The red marble, cottanello antico, is a rare variety of marl limestone that has high iron content and is thinly veined in calcite, which gives it the red and white coloration. The marble was only quarried from one location at Cottanello, approximately 40 kilometers northeast of Rome. A labrum is a basin for cold water in the caldarium or hot room of a Roman bath complex. They were made of marble in order to maintain a cool water temperature. Elaborately carved with 58 deep petals radiating from the central base, this labrum is exceedingly rare and is only closely paralleled by an example in the Vatican Museums.
The cover lot of the sale is a handsome Roman marble herm bust of Menander, circa 2nd century A.D. (estimate: $125,000-175,000). Menander, a child of a distinguished Athenian family, wrote more than a hundred plays during his thirty year career. He was known as gifted playwright of New Comedy and won several prizes. The lifesized bust is exquisitely modeled depicting Menanders long wavy locks hair, slender nose, and full lips. Further Roman highlights include a marble portrait head of the Emperor Nero, circa 59-64 A.D., celebrating the fifth year of his rule (estimate: $80,000-120,000) and a marble figure of the goddess Diana, circa 2nd century AD, formerly from Hever Castle (estimate: $80,000-120,000).
The sale is particularly strong in Greek vases including a large Attic red-figured pelike attributed to the Aegisthus Painter, circa 480-460 B.C. (estimate: $80,000-120,000) and an Attic red-figured volute-krater attributed to the Niobid Painter, circa 460-450 B.C. (estimate: $40,000-60,000). From South Italy there are two monumental red-figured volute-kraters attributed to the Baltimore Painter, circa 330-320 B.C. (estimate: $30,000-50,000 each); an Apulian red-figured calyxkrater attributed to the Darius Painter, circa 340-320 B.C. (estimate: $15,000-20,000); and a Lucanian red-figured bell-krater attributed to the Amykos Painter, circa 420-400 B.C. (estimate: $15,000-20,000). The sale also includes a kaleidoscope of colors of Roman glass vessels and bottles, with estimates ranging from $1,200 to $18,000 and a beautiful bronze hydria, circa mid 5th century B.C., exceptional for its beautiful ovoid body and craftsmanship (estimate: $120,000-180,000)
Other highlights include an Egyptian green schist bust of an official, Middle Kingdom, Dynasty XII-XIII, 1991-1690 B.C. (estimate: $80,000-120,000); a Canaanite warrior, Middle Bronze Age, circa 1900-1700 B.C. (estimate: $80,000-120,000); and a Sumerian limestone bullhead protome, circa mid 3rd millennium B.C. (estimate: $20,000-30,000).