American Journal of Archaeology
A recently published challenge to the authenticity of the ivory plaque of the Symmachi, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, is refuted, and its late fourth-century origin is confirmed by comparison with other plaques whose fourth- or fifth-century date is secure. The charge of forgery is related to patterns in recent art historiography, and these are traced to an anachronistic critical vocabulary that entails inappropriate norms of illusionistic depiction. A different vocabulary is proposed, based on a reexamination of the plaque's visible structure and of its artistic sources.
A pendant note by Anthony Cutler scrutinizes the fabric of the Symmachi diptych leaf and the manner in which it was worked. Recognizing both resemblances to and differences from the companion leaf of the Nicomachi, the author argues that these fit a known pattern of Late Antique workshop production and that the technical arguments underlying the claim that SYMMACHORVM is a 19th-century creation are therefore groundless.
© 1994 by Archaeological Institute of America. Publisher's version available at http://www.jstor.org/stable/506439.
Kinney, Dale, and Anthony Cutler. "A Late Antique Ivory Plaque and Modern Response." American Journal of Archaeology 98 (1994): 457-480.