This statuette of the Good Shepherd is a reworked fragment of a large sarcophagus.
The theme of the "shepherd" is one of the most emblematic in ancient Christian art, and the statuette in the Pius-Christian Museum, an eighteenth century reworking of a fragment from a sarcophagus, is undoubtedly one of its most famous and evocative representations. The "kriophoros" shepherd, holding a ram or a lamb on his shoulders, is an icon rooted in classical art, as a representation of one of the serving faithful and later as an allegory of "philanthropy". The image was adopted in funerary art, among the characters of bucolic scenes alluding to otherworldly bliss, and was finally inherited by Christians, in relation to the figure of Christ, the "Good Shepherd" (Jn 10, 11) and the parable of the lost sheep (Mt 18, 12-14; Lk 15, 4-7). The statuette in the Pius-Christian Museum, with its splendid face recalling Apollo and typical of the most ancient iconography of Christ, is without doubt evidence of the latter semantic evolution.
This object is part of "Scan The World". Scan the World is a non-profit initiative introduced by MyMiniFactory, through which we are creating a digital archive of fully 3D printable sculptures, artworks and landmarks from across the globe for the public to access for free. Scan the World is an open source, community effort, if you have interesting items around you and would like to contribute, email email@example.com to find out how you can help.