They Who Would Be Rome: The Art & Culture of Ancient Etruria


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They Who Would Be Rome: The Art & Culture of Ancient Etruria

  1. 1. Introduction To Art History I Professor Will Adams
  2. 2.  The Etruscans were the first historic people in Italy  Etruscan writing has still not been deciphered  Their religion was very similar to Egyptian and Greek; they were polytheistic and shared same gods as the Greeks but they had a strong belief in the afterlife like the Egyptians  Most Etruscan art is funereal.
  3. 3.  Three periods of Etruscan History:  Villanovan Period: 9th 8th centuries BCE: Similar to Greek Geometric Period in art  Orientalizing Phase: 750 – 575 BCE: Etruscans reach height of their power  Archaic Period: 550 – 350 BCE: Coincides with Greek Archaic Period; heavy Greek influence; most artwork from this period
  4. 4.  Etruscan Art Characteristics:  Heavy use of bronze and terracotta  Humans not always in proportion – not concerned with ideal forms  Many mythological themes: animals, heroes, and gods  Most art is related to funerals, tombs and afterlife themes
  5. 5.  Apollo of Veii c. 750 BCE  Found in Veii, Italy  Terracotta sculpture  Terracotta is easily sculpted but also delicate  It is recognized as a masterpiece of Etruscan Art  Originally it crowned an Etruscan temple
  6. 6.  A Reconstructed Etruscan Temple (700-539 BCE)  Columns were smooth and did not surround temple  Only one set of stairs leading up to stylobate  Lots of terra-cotta sculpture – especially on roof  Front and Back sides no longer the same
  7. 7.  Portrait of a Boy c. 300-100 BCE  Uncovered in Chiusi, Italy  Bronze sculpture  The boy appears to be looking away, perhaps toward a far away land  The Etruscans were famous for their bronze work, created using the lost wax method
  8. 8.  Capitoline Brutus c. 300 BCE  Unearthed in Rome, Italy  Bronze sculpture  Considered to be cast by Etruscan artists who were skilled in bronze work, although it represents a famous Roman politician  Brutus was an early hero of the Roman Republic, not the same person who killed Julius Caesar
  9. 9.  L’Arringatore (The Orator) c. 75 BCE  Found in the region of Perugia Italy  Free-standing bronze sculpture-in-the-round  Aulus Metellus was the name of the man, a great Roman speaker  Although the work is Etruscan, the style and clothing are completely Roman
  10. 10.  The Necropolis at Cerveteri 7th - 2nd centuries B.C.E. Cerveteri, Italy Funerary architecture The Etruscan tombs (called tumuli) resembled homes and businesses in many details
  11. 11. These photos were taken at the Cerveteri necropolis. Notice the porous, spongy-looking tuff that the necropolis is constructed from.
  12. 12. Notice that the tombs are arranged within “blocks” – just like a city!
  13. 13. It is uncanny how much an Etruscan tumulus resembles a tholos tomb of the Mycenaeans. Does this indicate cultural diffusion? Additionally, many tombs were dug deep enough to have cellars beneath them.
  14. 14.  Tomb of the Reliefs, 3rd Century BCE  Cerveteri, Italy  Architecture/Relief Sculpture  Richer people could afford sculpture in their tombs – this is the tomb of a metal worker – note the reliefs of swords, armor, shields, etc.  The tumulus was designed to look like an Etruscan dining room, or triclinium
  15. 15.  The Tomb of Hunting and Fishing, 520 BCE  Located in the necropolis of Tarquinia, Italy  The interior – carved from volcanic tuff – is painted in fresco scenes of boating, birding, swimming & diving  These are some of the first images of swimmers in art history.
  16. 16. It appears that family, leisure, and entertainment were all very central to the lives of the ancient Etruscans, with feast scenes featured prominently.
  17. 17.  Sarcophagus of Married Couple, c. 520 BCE  Found at the Cerveteri, Italy necropolis  Terracotta sculpted coffin  This coffin of a married couple tells us that Etruscans believed that the afterlife was same as this life.  The couple are shown reclining on typical Etruscan dining couch while embracing one another.
  18. 18. Note how detailed, naturalistic, and life-like these sculpted Etruscans appear – these are not the idealized “perfected” forms of Classical Greece! This interest in true-to-life naturalism is what the later Romans referred to as verism.
  19. 19.  The Capitoline SheWolf, c. 500 BCE  Discovered on Rome’s Capitoline Hill  Bronze, lost wax sculpture  It is a typical Etruscan example of bronze animal sculpture  The twins (Romulus & Remus) were added in the Renaissance  This has become the symbol of the city of Rome
  20. 20.  The Chimera of Arezzo, 400 BCE  Found in Arezzo, Italy  Bronze, lost wax sculpture of the mythical chimera monster  The chimera has the face and body of a lion, a ram’s head & neck projecting from its back, and a serpent for a tail.  Great technical virtuosity