Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 291

which is very far removed from the world of Theodora’s childhood. Voluptuous episodes from the wedding
feast of the god of fertility Dionysus and the beautiful Ariadne decorate the heathen obsequies from a dis-
tant past.
The massive marble sarcophagus, created in the last quarter of the second century A.D., had been
acquired two years previously by Carl Jacobsen from the Villa Casali in Rome. On the front we see Diony-
sus and Ariadne, seated on a rocky promontory
fl
anked by naked satyrs and maenads in order to watch a
wrestling match between Pan and a cupid. This many-
fi
gured scene has a host of symbol-laden cult acces-
sories including various musical instruments, several goats and a dog. There are vines growing in the depths
of this lifelike, action-packed scene, decoratively twining in and out among the
fi
gures.
Behind Theodora on the left side of the sarcophagus can be seen part of a bearded Dionysus holding a
sta
ff
and a timpano, his hair entwined with ivy and bunches of grapes and a goatskin thrown over his long
fl
owing robe; the head of a satyr is seen to the left of the little girl’s shoulder. Behind her we can glimpse
the god Hermes’
kerykeion
(herald’s sta
ff
) alongside a bunch of ripe grapes in addition to part of the bride-
groom’s half visible leg.
On the relief on the lid of the sarcophagus above the actual co
ffi
n, Dionysus can be seen standing on a
chariot drawn by two panthers. On one side of the animals rides a lyre-playing cupid. The little group is
moving towards the two main
fi
gures and constitutes part of the wedding festivities taking place in a rocky
landscape dotted with trees. The painter has cut his picture at the top in such a way that the heads of the
fi
gures cannot be seen.
In a compositional sense, the heavy sarcophagus acts as a set piece added from the right in the middle
distance of the painting, but the mammoth, relief-decorated marble creation does not quite reach the
opposite edge. An ingenious perspective line allows us to see a little more of the winter garden with the dis-
placed green plants, a smaller section of yet another antique fragment and at the very back and raised high
up on an invisible plinth, we see H.W. Bissen’s graceful plaster
fi
gure
Bathing Girl
against the background
of an ochre wall.
At the age of twenty-three, Theodora Jacobsen (


) married the brewer Edgar Frederik Madsen,
who later became a director of the Wibroe Breweries in Elsinore.
S.L
¹
Glyptotek: a collection of sculpture.
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