Greek art provided a treasury of motifs for Roman sculptors, who sometimes made exact copies of Greek works of art, while at other times they created free adaptations. This dialogue with Greek art – already regarded as classical – began in Hellenistic times, and became general in the Roman period.
The relief (1) represents a young woman holding a child and a cornucopia. We do not know who she is, but her attributes connect her to fertility and abundance. The type is a distant reference to a famous Greek statue (ca. 370 BC), which represented Peace (Eirene) holding her child Wealth (Plutos). The creator of that statue was Kephisodotos, whom ancient tradition regarded – alongside Timotheos – as one of the greatest sculptors of the early 4th century BC.
The two small fragments of heads (2–3) are also related to the Greek tradition: they evoke the works of the Argive sculptor Polykleitos (ca. 490–420 BC). On the relief (2), the arrangement of the locks of hair recalls the works of this master, while the ribbon (3) reminds one of the famous statue of the triumphant athlete (Diadumenos) tying a victory diadem around his head. The same motif appears here in a new context, since closed eyes refer generally to sleep or death.
The skill of Imperial period sculptors is illustrated by the virtuoso carving of the relief (4) showing the branch of a plane tree.