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Ancient Art
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery

Cup with the Raising of Lazarus

4th century A.D.

Free-blown glass with wheel-cut decoration; very pale green, nearly colorles

11.2 × 11.8 cm (4 7/16 × 4 5/8 in.)
Hobart and Edward Small Moore Memorial Collection, Bequest of Mrs. William H. Moore
1955.6.182
This cup was decorated by wheel-cutting, a technique in which shallow cuts were made in the surface of a glass vessel by applying a rotating wheel of metal or stone covered with an abrasive material. This decorative technique could be used to create lines, geometric designs, or, as in this case, figural scenes. While many of the scenes applied to glass vessels in the second and third centuries drew upon pagan mythology, Christian subjects became popular in the early fourth century, following the conversion of the Roman emperor Constantine to Christianity in A.D. 312. One popular biblical story was the raising of Lazarus from the dead, a powerful example of the miraculous power of Christ. On this cup, Lazarus, still wrapped in his burial shroud, stands next to Jesus, who holds a staff in his left hand; four other figures included in the scene are probably anonymous onlookers. The style of cutting, in which variously oriented groups of parallel cut lines create solid areas suggestive of anatomy, drapery, architecture, and landscape, is associated with glass-cutters working in Cologne, Germany.
Status: 
Not on view
Culture: 
Roman, Rhineland, probably Cologne
Period: 
Roman-Byzantine
Classification: 
Containers - Glass
Provenance: 

Found at Boulogne-sur-Mer; ex coll. Engel Gross; ex. coll. Fahim Kouchakji.

Bibliography: 

Gustavus A. Eisen, Glass: Its Origin, History, Chronology, Technic and Classification to the Sixteenth Century, 2 vols. (New York: William Edwin Rudge, 1927), vol. 2, pp. 546–47, pl. 134, fig. 234.

Dorothy E. Miner, ed., Early Christian and Byzantine Art: An Exhibition Held at the Baltimore Museum of Art, April 25–June 22, exh. cat. (Baltimore: The Walters Art Museum, 1947), 124, no. 625, pl. LXXIII, ill.

Fritz Fremersdorf, Die Denkmäler des römischen Köln (Cologne, Germany: Verlag Der Lowe, 1961), 187, fig. pl. 267.

Susan B. Matheson, Ancient Glass in the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1980), 96, no. 258, ill.

Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 269, ill.

Richard A. Grossmann, Ancient Glass: A Guide to the Yale Collection (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2002), 36, fig. 37.

“Antiquities at the Hood,” Hood Museum of Art Quarterly 31 (Spring/Summer 2011): 10, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.