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Work Male statuette

Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities: Etruscan Art (9th-1st centuries BC)

Male statuette

© 1996 RMN / Hervé Lewandowski

Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities
Etruscan Art (9th-1st centuries BC)

Author(s):
Astier Marie-Bénédicte

This male statuette comes from an exceptional deposit of votive bronzes found on Mount Falterona in central Italy, on the site of a temple probably dedicated to healer gods. Made in the early fifth century BCE, it remains faithful to Archaic conventions and closely resembles the kouros type, developed in Greece a century earlier. It is generally attributed to a workshop in northern Etruria.

The votive offerings of Falterona

This statuette comes from an exceptional deposit of bronze votive offerings discovered in 1838 on Mount Falterona in central Italy, near a small lake beside a road linking northern Etruria and Romagna. The collection consisted of items made between the late sixth century BCE and the Hellenistic period, including 620 statuettes of human figures (some of which went to the British Museum in London and to the Louvre) and domestic animals; nearly 2,000 fragments of weapons and of depictions of the human body (heads, trunks, arms, legs, etc.); and a few coins. The cult celebrated here was probably devoted to the worship of healer gods. The presence of a great number of weapons and warrior statuettes also indicates that the temple (which has also yielded statues of Hercules) was very popular with soldiers.

Evolution of the Archaic kouros

The Louvre figurine depicts a naked youth standing, his left hand resting on his hip, and his right holding an attribute, perhaps a weapon, which is now lost. Made between 500 and 480 BCE, it remains faithful to the conventions of Archaic art. It is a 'kouros' ('young man' in Greek), one of the principal types of statuary of the Archaic period, developed in the ancient Greek world in the late seventh century BCE. The figure is depicted in a hieratic and strictly frontal pose, his features enlivened by a slight smile.

A work made in northern Etruria

This ex-voto was made using the lost-wax solid-casting technique, and was cast upside down, head downward. It is a fine example of the work of the bronze craftsmen of northern Etruria in the early fifth century BCE, a time when the region was enjoying a period of considerable political and economic expansion. Local craftsmen produced large numbers of small-sized statuettes combining Greek influences with local forms, as well as cult objects and domestic utensils, often highly sophisticated and clearly intended for the higher echelons of local society.

Bibliography

Civiltà degli Etruschi, Florence-Milan, 1985, n 10.30.1, p. 284.
Cristofani (M.), I Bronzi degli Etruschi, 1985, n 4.1, pp. 253-4.

Technical description

  • Male statuette

    C. 500-480 BC

    Provenance: Mont Falterona (Italy)

    Manufacture: northern Etruria

  • Bronze, lost wax (solid-cast)

    H. 22 cm

  • Acquired in 1865

    Br 218

  • Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities

    Denon wing
    Ground floor
    Etruria I
    Room 18
    Display case 6

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