art 111- etruscan art

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Etruscan Art

Etruscan Art


The Etruscan civilization lasted from the 8th century BC to the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. In the 6th century the Etruscans expanded their influence over a wide area of Italy. They founded city-states in northern Italy.

Who were the Etruscans?The Etruscans, as everyone knows, were the people who occupied the middle of Italy in early Roman days, and whom the Romans, in their usual neighborly fashion, wiped out entirely. D.H. Lawrence, Etruscan Places (1929)Deeply influenced by, yet different from, Greek art, Etruscan sculpture, painting, and architecture not only provided the models for early Roman art and architectureThe heartland of the Etruscans was the territory between the Arno and Tiber Rivers of central Italy. Known today as Tuscany, the land of the people the Romans called TusciThe origin of the Tusci people is not clear at all. Their language, although written in a Greek-derived is still in large part obscure.Their lack of political cohesion eventually made the Etruscans relatively easy prey for Roman aggressors.

Etruscan Temple Type6th century BCResembles Greek temples but constructed not of stone but of woodColumns were restricted to the buildings front- indicating a main side of the buildingWas intended to function primarily as an ornate home for grand statues of Etruscan godsIt was a place of shelter, protected by its roofs wide overhangPedimental statuary was rareNarrative statuary- in terracotta was placed on the peaks of Etruscan temple roofs

Entrance was possible only via a narrow staircase

Columns resemble Greek Doric- but made of wood, were unfluted, and had basesColumns more widely spacedEtruscan temples frequently had three cellas- one for each of their chief gods, Tinia, Uni and Menserva.

ApuluArchaic Etruscan terracotta 510-500 BC

Characteristics of Etruscan SculpturesExtraordinary forcehuge swelling contoursplunging motiongesticulating armsfan-life calf muscles and animated face are distinctly Etruscan

Sarcophagus with Reclining CoupleCerveteri, Italy 520BCAlthough life-size terracotta statuary was known in Greece, this medium was especially favored by the Etruscans. An example is the sarcophagus in the form of a husband & wife reclining on a banqueting couch from a tomb in the Cerveteri necropolisThe work was created in 4 sections then joined It had no parallel in GreeceThe couple is highly animated as the Apulu of VeiiUnlike Greek importance on proportions here the Etruscans have focused on the upper half of the figures, especially on the vibrant faces and gesticulating arms

They are the antithesis of the stiff and formal figures encountered in Egyptian tomb sculptures.

Houses for the DeadTypical tombs in Etruscan cemeteries took the form of a mound or tumulus

Each Etruscan tumulus covered one or more subterranean multi-chambered tombs cut out of the dark local limestone called tufa

These burial mounds sometimes reached colossal size in excess of 130 ft in diameter. Necropolis- city of the dead

TumuliThe underground tomb chambers cut into the rock resembled the houses of the living!Even though we do not have any remnants of their actual homes we can see how theyve mightve lived by examining their tombs. Cut out of the bedrock: series of beds, armchairs with curved backs, ceiling beams, framed doorways + windows! Think about: temples made out of wood/ mudbrick vs tombs are of permanent bedrock*

Tomb of the ReliefsCerveteri, Italy 3rd Century BCIt accommodated several generations of a single familyCarved out of tufa bedrockBrightly painted stucco reliefs covered the stoneThe stools, mirrors, drinking cups, pitchers, and knives suggest a domestic context

Tomb of the leopardstarquinia, Italy480-470 BCBanqueting couples (the men with dark sin, the women in light skin) adorn the walls (similar to the sarcophagus from Cerveteri)People serve them, musicians play double pipes and a seven-stringed lyre entertain themIn Etruscan fashion the banqueters, servants and entertainers all make exaggerated gestures with unnaturally large hands.The tone is joyful, a celebration of life, food, wine, music, and dance, rather than a somber contemplation of death.

Tomb of hunting & FishingTarquinia, Italy530-520BCScenes of Etruscans enjoying the pleasures of nature decorate all the walls of the main chamber of the Tomb of Hunting and Fishing

The last Etruscan king: Tarquinius SuperbusAs a result, the number of Etruscan tombs decreased sharply, the quality of the furnishings declined markedly.No longer were tumuli filled with golden jewelry and imported Greek vases or mural paintings.But Etruscan art did not cease. Etruscan artists continued to excel in bronze & terracotta works

Capitoline wolf500-480 BCRomeMythical Etruscan AnimalLarger-than-life hollow-cast bronze portrayal of the she-wolf that, according to ancient legend, nursed Romulus and Remus after they were abandoned as infants. When the brothers grew they quarreled and Romulus killed his brother. Romulus founded Rome on April 21, 753 BC on the Palatine Hill and became the citys king. The statue of the she-wolf seems to have been made for the new Roman Republic after the expulsion of Tarquinius Sperbus.Product of a Etruscan workshopProtective beast + psychic intensity

Capitoline wolfAccording to legend, Rome traced its roots back to Aeneas, a Trojan prince who fled from Troys destruction.Romulus & Remus were said to be descendants of AeneasThe city of Rome allegedly was founded in 753 BC and Romulus was the first of seven Etruscan Kings. Remains the image of Rome to this day.

Chimera of ArezzoArezzo, Italy4th century BCChimera is a monster of Greek invention with a lions head and body and a serpents tail. A second head, that of a goat, grows out of the lions left sideAs rendered by the Etruscan sculptor, the chimera is injured and bleeding but is nowhere near defeated. The chimeras muscles re stretched tightly over its rib cagePrepared to attackIn tradition, also the guardian nurse of Romulus and Remus

Rome Overwhelms EtruriaAt about the time of the Chimera of Arrezo, Rome began to appropriate Etruscan territory. Veii fell to the Romans in 396 BCIn 251 BC Tarquinia and 273 BC Cerveteri was conquered

Porta Marzia(gate of mars)Perugia, Italy2nd century bcThe Porta Marzia was one of the gates in Perugias walls. The use of engaged columns to frame arches typifies Etruscan builders adaptation of Greek architectural motifs. The arch has a long history in ancient architecture, but it was commonly used in Etruscan and later Roman buildings.

Engaged Column

Similar heads- realistic but generic types, not true portraits, are found on all later Etruscan sarcophagi and in tomb paintings.

They are symptomatic of the economic and political decline of the once-mighty Etruscan city-states.

Sarcophagus of Lars Pulena, from Tarquinia, Italy. Early 2nd century BC. Tufa. 66 long.

Aule MeteleSanguineto, Italy1st century BC57 high It is a Romano-Etruscan in the Roman style and depicts an Etruscan man, Aule Metele, wearing a short Roman toga and footwear. His right arm is raised to indicate that he is an orator addressing the public.Etruscan bronze statueRoman style short toga