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Work Statuette of Turms

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

Statuette votive représentant le dieu Turms (Hermès)

© 2000 RMN / Hervé Lewandowski

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

Author(s):
Astier Marie-Bénédicte

This statuette is a fine example of bronze ex-voto production in northern Etruria in the early fifth century BCE. It portrays the god Turms (the Etruscan Hermes or Mercury), recognizable by his winged boots. The Archaic aesthetic is still the guiding principle, particularly in the figure's stance and the decorative treatment of the garment. However, certain details indicate the influence of the Early Classical style that was developing in Greece at this time.

Turms: the Etruscan Hermes

This bronze statuette, purchased by the Louvre in the early 1990s, portrays Turms, the Etruscan Hermes. Images of the god were frequently used to decorate mirrors, particularly in the second half of the fifth century BCE, often accompanied by inscriptions that enable us to identify him with certainty. The messenger of the gods, invoked by travelers and merchants, is depicted with the same attributes as in Greece: winged boots, a petasus (a round, broad-brimmed hat) and (probably) a caduceus, the lower part of which is still visible in the figure's left hand. The figurine was solid-cast upside-down, with the head downwards, using the lost-wax method.

A legacy of the Archaic style with intimations of the Early Classical

Created c.480 BCE, this statuette remains faithful to the conventions of the Archaic style. The strictly frontal pose, the disordered arrangement of the god's garment and the decorative and lively play of the pleats, both incised and sculpted, are characteristic of works from the sixth century BCE. Nevertheless, a number of details indicate the influence of the Early Classical style, which was developing in Greece at this same period (480-450 BCE). The hair is caught at the nape of the neck by a ribbon and combed forward over the temples in a manner resembling works of the early fifth century. The solid outline of the features, touched by a slight smile, firm chin and powerful neck all contribute to the gravity of the deity's expression, analogous to contemporary Greek figures.

A work from a northern Etrurian workshop

The whereabouts of the place where this piece was created remains unknown, but it seems that we can attribute to a northern Etrurian workshop of the early fifth century BCE. This vast territory, defined by the city-states of Populonia, Volterra, Arezzo and Cortona, was experiencing strong political and economic growth at this time. More precisely, this statuette may have been created in an workshop in Populonia, a city-state known for its copper and iron deposits, and for its production of statuettes very similar in style to this one.

Bibliography

Gaultier Fr., "Un nouvel Hermès étrusque au musée du Louvre", Revue du Louvre, 1990, 1, pp. 1-6.

Technical description

  • Statuette votive représentant le dieu Turms (Hermès)

    Vers 480 avant J.-C.

    Production : Populonia ?

  • Bronze, fonte pleine à la cire perdue

    H. : 17 cm.

  • Acquisition 1989 , 1989

    Br 4641

  • Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities

    Denon wing
    Ground floor
    Etruria I
    Room 18
    Vitrine 6

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