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Work Nude youth with baldric

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

Young man, naked except for a shoulder-belt

© 1995 RMN / Gérard Blot

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

Author(s):
Astier Marie-Bénédicte

This statuette comes from a votive depository found on Mount Falterona in Italy, on the site of a temple, which appears to have been frequented especially by the military. The figurine, representing a nude youth adjusting his baldric, probably adorned the upper part of a candelabrum. It has been attributed by some to a workshop in Vulci, by others to one in Etruria Padana, where great numbers of Vulcian bronzes imported in the early 5th century were subsequently copied.

The votive depot at Falterona

This statuette comes from an exceptional trove of bronze votive offerings discovered in 1838 on Mount Falterona, central Italy, near a small lake by a road linking Northern Etruria to Romagna. The collection of objects included items made between the late 6th century BC and the Hellenistic era: 620 statuettes, human figures (some of which went to the British Museum in London and to the Louvre), and representations of domestic animals; nearly 2,000 fragments of weapons and parts of the human body (heads, trunks, arms, legs, etc.); and a number of coins. The cult celebrated in this location was probably devoted to the worship of healing gods. The presence of a numerous weapons and warrior statuettes indicates that this temple, where representations of Hercules also have been found, was especially favored by the military.

A warrior figure decorating a candelabrum

The Louvre figurine represents a warrior, in the form of a nude youth, adjusting his baldric and scabbard to sheathe a two-edged sword in his right hand. The athletic build and posture of the figure echo Greek works of the classical period. The bronze maker applied the lessons of the mid-5th century BC Greek sculptor Polycletus, who invented the contrapposto pose, in which the hips and shoulders move in opposite directions. Set on a small molded base, the statuette probably decorated the upper part of a candelabrum.

An object made in Vulci or Etruria Padana

The statuette was made in the early decades of the 4th century BC, using the lost-wax solid casting method. Some have attributed it to a workshop in Vulci, but it is perhaps more likely that it was made at Spina, in Etruria Padana: there are clear links between the works made by the two centers of production ; Vulcian bronzes, imported in great numbers in the early 5th century, were subsequently copied by the craftsmen of Spina.

Bibliography

E. Hostetter, Bronzes from Spina, Mayence, 1986, p. 197, n 29.
Civiltà degli Etruschi, Florence-Milan, 1985, n 10.30.6, p. 285.
M. Cristofani, I Bronzi degli Etruschi, 1985, n 4.8, p. 256.

Technical description

  • Young man, naked except for a shoulder-belt

    C. 400-370 BC

    Provenance: Mont Falterona, Italy

    Manufacture: Volci, plain of the Po, Etruria

  • Bronze, lost wax (solid-cast)

    H. 12.5 cm

  • Acquired in 1858 , 1858

    Br 292

  • Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities

    Denon wing
    Ground floor
    Etruria II
    Room 421
    Display case 7

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