The Tomb of the Diver. Artisans and initiates in the Paestum of the Greek age
by Gabriel Zuchtriegel
The only tomb with figurative frescoes that we know of from a Greek city before the 4th century BC, even more remarkable for the subject matter of the covering slab: a young man diving into water from a platform. The special feature that makes the tomb of the Diver enigmatic and one of its kind is the absence of any narrative element, of any attribute or indication that might point to the meaning of this image – no trace of mythological elements, even illegible.
Research tends to view the dive as a metaphor for the passage from life to death – an interpretation not without problems: a metaphoric language that does not belong to the repertoire ascertained by archaeological sources in such a remote stage of ancient art.
Image as a metaphor did not exist – or if it did, the Tomb of the Diver would be the only example: it’s as if in a musical universe where only counterpoint exists, there appeared suddenly a work based on harmonies and chords (Gabriel Zuchtriegel).