Etruscan Art (900-27 BCE)

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Sarcophagus of the Spouses
Tomb of the Leopards
Etruscan sculpture
Putto Graziani
Etruscan Tomb Paintings
The Orator

From about 900 BCE the Iron Age Villanovan culture emerged and this is considered to be the earliest phase of the Etruscan civilization. It reached its peak of territory by 750 BCE. Etruscan civilization endured until it was assimilated into Roman society from the late 4th century BCE following the Roman–Etruscan Wars, it was accelerated by the grant of Roman citizenship in 90 BCE, and was complete by 27 BCE.

Etruscan culture was influenced by the Ancient Greeks. Etruscan writing derived from Euboean Greek script, but is little understood. They were familiar with Greek mythology and their art and architecture was heavily influenced by Greece. The Etruscan economy was made strong by its fruitful trading northward with the Celts and southward with the Greeks. Their tombs often contained imported luxury items.


Image source: Wikimedia commons

The late 6th c BCE Sarcophagus of the Spouses is considered one of the great masterpieces of Etruscan art. It is fabricated in terracotts and is from Caere. It is in the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia, Rome.

The lower image is of another Sarcophagus of the Spouses, from c1st c BCE on show at the Museo Etrusco Guarnacci.
This wall painting was discovered in a burial chamber called Tomb of the Leopards at the Etruscan necropolis of Tarquinia in Lazio, Italy. The leopards confront each other above a banquet scene.
Image source: Wikimedia commons

Image source: Wikimedia commons

The Etruscans were very accomplished figurative sculptors, most often in terracotta, alabster and bronze, Compared with Greeks and there is little in stone.

The top image shows a terracotta figure of a young woman, late 4th-early 3rd c BCE.

The two terracotta heads of male youths are from the 3rd-2nd c BCE and are on show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY USA.
This hollow bronze sculpture is called the Putto Graziani. It has an Etruscan inscription that states ‘To the god Tec Sans as a gift’. Tec Sans was an indigenous cult, she was the protectress of childhood. He holds a bird in his right hand and a ball in the left. From his neck hangs a large seal, while he has two rings around his ankle and right wrist and a spiral armilla on his left wrist.
Dated to 3rd-2nd c BCE it is on show at the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco in Rome.

Image source: museivaticani.va

Image source: Wikimedia commons

Etruscan Tomb Paintings,
while occasionally showing Etruscan details of dress and customs, are essentially Greek in style, Certainly in the anatomy, their poses, and their drapery. Though Etruscan paintingis considered more backward and provincial than Greek works.
The lower image is the detail from a 350 BCE Etruscan tomb a man wearing a Tyrian purple toga picta, or pictured toga.
The Orator is a 179 cm Etruscan bronze sculpture from the late 2nd/early 1st c BCE. It depicts Aulus Metellus, an Etruscan senator in the Roman republic, he was originally from Perugia or Cortona. It was discovered near Lake Trasimeno in the province of Perugia and is now in the
National Archaeological Museum, Florence Italy.

Image source: Wikimedia commons

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