The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of June 8, 2024

Jonah Cast Up

Jonah Cast Up

280–90 CE
Overall: 41.5 x 36 x 18.5 cm (16 5/16 x 14 3/16 x 7 5/16 in.)

Did You Know?

The fearsome creature spitting Jonah out of its mouth is a creation of the artist's imagination derived from the ancient Greek cetos, a sea monster. Like other mythical beasts, such as the griffin and the sphinx, this monster combines elements of several different animals. Which ones do you see when looking at this fantastical creature?


After disobeying the Lord’s command to proclaim judgment on the city of Nineveh, the Old Testament prophet Jonah was cast into the sea and swallowed by a sea monster. He spent three days praying inside the beast before being cast ashore. Here, the beast spits Jonah out of its mouth.
  • According to William Wixom, one unconfirmed report tells us that the entire group (1965.237-1965.247) was found in a single, huge pithos or jar.
    (J. J. Klejman, New York, NY, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
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    Vyverberg, Henry. The Living Tradition: Art, Music, and Ideas in the Western World. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978. p. 30
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    Dresken-Weiland, Jutta. Reliefierte Tischplatten aus theodosianischer Zeit. Città del Vaticano: Pontificio Istituto di archeologia cristiana, 1991. pp. 156, 158
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    Lehman, Karen M. "Sacred and Profane Hellenizing Marbles of the Late Third Century Roman Empire: Secular Portraits and Religious Narrative Sculptures in the Cleveland Museum of Art Reviewed in the Cultural Context." M.A. thesis, Kent State University, 2004. Mentioned: p. v; Reproduced: p.107, fig. 24
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    Snyder, James, Henry Luttikhuizen, Dorothy Verkerk, and James Snyder. Snyder's Medieval Art. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2006. p. 4, fig. 1.4
    Cleveland Museum of Art, and Holger A. Klein. Sacred Gifts and Worldly Treasures: Medieval Masterworks from the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, Ohio: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2007. Mentioned and reproduced: P. 34-37, no. 1
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    Eikelmann, Renate, Holger A. Klein, Stephen N. Fliegel, and Virginia Brilliant. The Cleveland Museum of Art: Meisterwerke von 300 bis 1550. München: Hirmer, 2007. pp. 28, 31, no. 1
    Cormack, Robin, "Byzantium at the Royal Academy" Minerva; the International Review of Ancient Art & Archaeology vol. 19, no. 6, (Dec. 2008). p. 32, fig. 8
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    Cleveland Museum of Art, David Franklin, and C. Griffith Mann. Treasures from the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2012. pp. 52-3
    Fliegel, Stephen N., and Stephen N. Fliegel. A Higher Contemplation: Sacred Meaning in the Christian Art of the Middle Ages. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2012. p. 20, fig. 14
    Eastmond, Antony. The Glory of Byzantium and Early Christendom. 2013. p. 16, fig. 3 & 4
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    Meyer, Mati. Omanut yeme ha-benayim be-Eropah uba-biznaṭyon. Raʻananah: ha-Universiṭah ha-petuḥah, 2017. Reproduced: p. 69, #26
    Hornik, Heidi J. "Freestanding Sculpture." In The Routledge Handbook of Early Christian Art.Jensen, Robin Margaret Jensen and Mark D. Ellison, editors. Abingdon Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge, 2018. Reproduced: p. 75, fig. 5.3
    Gertsman, Elina and Barbara H. Rosenwein. The Middle Ages in 50 Objects.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. Mentioned: p.2-5; Reproduced: p. 3
    Rumscheid, Frank, Sabine Schrenk and Kornelia Kressirer. Göttliche Ungerechtigkeit?: Strafen und Glaubensprüfungen als Themen antiker und Frühchristlicher Kunst. Petersberg: Dr. M. Imhof,2018. Reproduced: p. [292], IV.2.3, Kat. 4; p. 301, IV.2.3, Abb. 7-8a; Kat. 4
    Boardman, John. "The Age of Heroes: Greeks and Phoenicians on the Wine-Dark Sea." In Assyria to Iberia: Art and Culture in the Iron Age. Joan Aruz, and Michael Seymour, editors, 206-215. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. Reproduced: p. 212
    Cormack, Robin. Byzantine Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. Reproduction: P. 13, fig. 7
    Mikolic, Amanda. A Field Guide to Medieval Monsters.Cleveland: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 2019. Reproduced: p. 6
    Bol, Peter, Carola Reinsberg, Renate Bol, D. Kreikenbom, Hans-Ulrich Cain, Heike Richter, and Britta Özen-Kleine. Plastik der römischen Kaiserzeit vom Regierungsantritt des Antoninus Pius bis zum Ende der Antike. Worms : Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft mbh, 2019. Mentioned: p. 191, 193, 194; Reproduced: textabb. 101, p. 194
    Armstrong, Karen. Porque me has visto has creído: el Nuevo Testamento en el arte. 2020. Reproduced: p. II of color plate section.
    Béthune, Sarah, and Paolo Tomassini. Fantastic beasts in antiquity: looking for the monster, discovering the human. 2021. Reproduced and mentioned; pp. 155-156, fig. 2
  • Medieval Monsters: Terrors, Aliens, Wonders. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (July 7-October 6, 2019).
    Byzantium, 330-1453. Royal Academy of Arts, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (organizer) (October 25, 2008-March 22, 2009).
    Sacred Gifts and Worldly Treasures: Medieval Masterworks from the Cleveland Museum of Art. National Museum of Bavaria, Munich, Germany (May 10-September 16, 2007); J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA (October 30, 2007-January 20, 2008).
    Golden Anniversary of Acquisitions. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (September 10-October 16, 1966).
  • {{cite web|title=Jonah Cast Up|url=false|author=|year=280–90 CE|access-date=08 June 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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