Greek tombstones frequently depict the deceased bidding a final farewell to their loved ones, as is the case here. The inscription above the head of the man on the left merely gives his name—Antaios Meilesios—and does not explain his connection to the other man. The small rabbit cradled in the arm of the man on the right, however, clearly indicates that the two had a romantic relationship. In Greek art, rabbits symbolized courtship and were given as “love gifts” or tokens of affection. While much more commonly appearing in vase painting, the giving of a rabbit as a love gift appears on over a dozen Greek tombstones. The emotionless faces of the men are in keeping with Classical traditions, while the postures of the two dogs indicate longing and sadness.
Elias Geladakis, Paris, [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Joseph Brummer, Paris and New York, 1923, by purchase [Brummer inv. no. P658]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1924, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
[Inscription, Greek] In molding at top left: ΑΝΤΑΙΟΣ ΜΕΙΛΗΣΙΟΣ [ref: IG II(2) 9391a]
Acquired by Henry Walters, 1924