Etruscan and Roman Art

Etruscan and Roman Art:

The Etruscans were an ancient Italic culture linguistically recognizable by approximate 700 B.C. Their culture created from a prehistoric civilization known as Villanovan (ca. 900–500 B.C.). By the straining of the seventh century B.C., Etruscans occupied the central region of Italy among the Arno and Tiber rivers, and settled eventually as far north as the Po River valley and as far south as Campania. They flourished till the end of the second century B.C., while they were completely subsumed into Roman culture. Whereas some 13,000 Etruscan texts exist, mostly are very short. As a result, much of what we know regarding the Etruscans comes not from historical evidence, however from their art & the archaeological record. Several Etruscan sites, mainly cemeteries & sanctuaries, have been excavated, notably at Veii, , Tarquinia, Vulci, Cerveteri and Vetulonia. Many Etruscan tomb paintings portray in vivid color several different scenes of life, myth and death.

From very early on, the Etruscans were in contact along the Greek colonies in southern Italy. Greek potters  & their works affected the development of Etruscan fine painted wares (1975.363), and, as a result, new types of Etruscan pottery were formed during the Orientalizing period (ca. 750–575 B.C.) and subsequent Archaic period (ca. 575–490 B.C.). The most successful of these pottery styles is known as Bucchero (24.97.21a,b), characterized through its shiny black surface & preponderance of shapes that emulate metal prototypes (2009.316). An Etruscan dedication at the Greek sanctuary of Delphi attests to the strong interaction among the Etruscans and the Greeks in the Archaic period. The Etruscans particularly finely prized painted Greek vases, which they gathered in great numbers. Similarly, their interest in Greek culture and art is manifest in works by Etruscan artists. Though, the adaptation of Greek iconography to Etruscan art is complicated and difficult to interpret.

Etruria, the region occupied through the Etruscans, was rich in metals, specifically iron and copper. The Etruscans were master bronze smiths who exported their complete products all over the Mediterranean. Delicately worked bronzes, such like chariots and thrones decorated with exquisite hammered reliefs (03.23.1), cast statues & statuettes (17.190.2066), in addition to ornate vessels (2008.332), mirrors, & stands, attest to the high quality attained through Etruscan artists, specifically in the Archaic and Classical (ca. 490–300 B.C.) periods. Opulent jewelry of gold and semi-precious stones (40.11.7-.18) exemplifies Levantine and eastern Greek forms adapted to Etruscan taste. Extensive trade in the Mediterranean throughout this period supplied artists  along with exotic materials like ivory, amber (17.190.2067), semi-precious stones and ostrich eggs  all of which fostered the development of Etruscan gem engraving and other arts. The Etruscans were also distinguished for their architectural reliefs and terracotta freestanding sculpture. Etruscan funerary works, exclusively sarcophagi and cinerary urns (96.9.225a,b), carved frequently in high relief, comprise an especially rich source of evidence for artistic achievement throughout the and Hellenistic  and Late Classical periods.

Roman art refers to the visual arts made in the territories of the Roman Empire and in Ancient Rome. Roman art comprise, painting, architecture, sculpture and mosaic work. Luxury objects in metal-work, ivory carvings, gem engraving, and glass, are sometimes supposed in modern terms to be minor forms of Roman art, though this would not essentially have been the case for contemporaries. Sculpture was possibly supposed as the highest form of art by Romans, but figure painting was also very extremely regarded. The two forms have had very contrasting rates of survival, along with a very large body of sculpture surviving from regarding the 1st century BC onwards, though extremely little from before, however very little painting at all remains, and possibly nothing that a contemporary would have supposed to be of the highest quality. Ancient Roman pottery was not a comfort product, but a huge production of "fine wares" in terra sigillata were decorated along with reliefs that reflected the latest taste, and provided a big group in society with stylish objects at what was evidently an affordable price. Roman coins were significant means of propaganda, and have survived in vast numbers. Other perishable forms of art have not survived at all.

Variety of subjects:

Roman painting provides an extensive variety of themes: animals, still life, and scenes from daily life, portraits, and some mythological subjects. Throughout the Hellenistic period, it evoked the pleasures of the countryside and represented scenes of shepherds, , rustic temples, herds, country houses and rural mountainous landscapes. Erotic scenes are also associatively common. In the late empire, after 200AD, early Christian themes mixed along pagan imagery survive on catacomb walls.

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