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Archeological Object

Panel showing initiation of Ariadne (153651)

Panel showing initiation of Ariadne (153651)

Found as isolated material together with another panel in the Naples Archaeological Museum which is identical in terms of theme and size (inv. 153652), the panel displays extremely high quality craftsmanship. It might have been an ornament for decorating a wall or, much more probably, a piece of wooden furniture, instead of the more common ivory inlays. The theme of the panel is the initiation of Ariadne to the Dionysian mysteries, a theme for which there is evidence in various frescoes. The scene takes place in a rural setting: Ariadne, in the centre, wears a long dress and reclines, leaning on her left side, on a hillock. She puts her hand on a rock, upon which there is a drinking cup and, with her right hand, offers a kantharos to a Maenad who is pouring her a liturgical drink (wine?) from an oinochoe. A goat looks towards Ariadne while above her a cupid holds a veil between the branches of a vine or bay tree. An eight-reed pan pipe hangs from the vine as does a sack from which emerge bunches of grapes and a gnarly club. On the left of the scene is a bearded Silenus with a flowing chlamys and a head adorned with a garland of leaves and vine leaves; he advances with his head looking behind and his right arm raised above it. In his left hand, he holds a skyphos, while at his feet there is a cist from which emerges the head of a snake. Panels in cameo glass such as this one are extremely rare, if not unique; it was probably made by the same workshop that produced such masterpieces as the famous “Blue vase” (inv. 13521) in the Archaeological Museum of Naples or the so-called "Portland vase" in the British Museum. They were produced by soldering together two sheets of glass - the sheets were made by pouring molten glass into moulds - after laying one on top of another and putting them into a furnace. The upper sheet would then be engraved. It is interesting to note that the panel showed traces of wear and ancient restoration when it was discovered.

Further information
Codici (Label is not translated)
  Ente_competente: Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici delle Province di Napoli e Caserta
  SGTI: iniziazione di Arianna
Localizzazione_geografico-amministrativa (Label is not translated)
  PVCS: Italia
  regione: CAMPANIA
  provincia: Napoli
  comune: Napoli
  LDCT: palazzo
  Name: Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
  Indirizzo: Piazza Museo, 19 - 80135
  LDCM: Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
  Location: First floor, Room LXXXVI, display case 2, no. 9
Dati_patrimoniali (Label is not translated)
  Inventory number: 153651
  INVD: 1863 post
Dati_tecnici (Label is not translated)
  MISU: cm.
  Height: 25.2
  Length: 39.4
  Thickness: 0.7
Dati_analitici (Label is not translated)
  Inscriptions - text:

Condizione_giuridica_e_vincoli (Label is not translated)
  CDGG: proprietà Stato
Fonti_e_documenti_di_riferimento (Label is not translated)

Maiuri 1961, pp. 20-21, figg. 2-3; Glas der Caesaren 1988, n. 32b, pp. 70-73 e bibliografia; Vetri dei Cesari 1988, n. 32a, pp. 70-73 e bibliografia; Collezioni Museo 1989, I, 1, n. 51, pp. 226-227; Zevi 1991b, II, p. 313; De Caro 1994, p. 268; Vésuve 1995, n. 56b, pp. 166-167; Vulkan 1995, n. 56a, pp. 166-167; Barbet 1999, p. 113; De Caro 1999, pp. 108 e 110; Homo Faber 1999, n. 276, p. 210; Pompeii 1999, n. 276, p. 210; Pompeji 2000, n. 276, p. 95; De Caro 2001b, p. 19; Coarelli 2002, pp. 102-103; Ancient Roman Civilization 2003, pp. 155-157.