Etruscan Art: Fear & Blue-Faced Demons
The Etruscans were an ancient Italic culture linguistically identifiable by about 700 B.C. Their culture developed from a prehistoric civilization known as Villanovan (ca. 900500 B.C.). By the beginning of the seventh century B.C., the Etruscans occupied the central region of Italy between the Arno and Tiber rivers, and eventually settled as far north as the Po River valley and as far south as Campania. They flourished until the end of the second century B.C., when they were fully subsumed into Roman culture. While some 13,000 Etruscan texts exist, most of these are very short. Consequently, much of what we know about the Etruscans comes not from historical evidence, but from their art and the archaeological record. Many Etruscan sites, primarily cemeteries and sanctuaries, have been excavated, notably at Veii, Cerveteri, Tarquinia, Vulci, and Vetulonia. Numerous Etruscan tomb paintings portray in vivid color many different scenes of life, death, and myth.

From very early on, the Etruscans were in contact with the Greek colonies in southern Italy. Greek potters and their works influenced the development of Etruscan fine painted wares (1975.363), and, consequently, new types of Etruscan pottery were created during the Orientalizing period (ca. 750575 B.C.) and subsequent Archaic period (ca. 575490 B.C.). The most successful of these pottery styles is known as Bucchero (24.97.21a,b), characterized by its shiny black surface and preponderance of shapes that emulate metal prototypes. An Etruscan dedication at the Greek sanctuary of Delphi attests to the close interaction between the Greeks and the Etruscans in the Archaic period. The Etruscans particularly prized finely painted Greek vases, which they collected in great numbers. Likewise, their interest in Greek art and culture is manifest in works by Etruscan artists. However, the adaptation of Greek iconography to Etruscan art is complex and difficult to interpret.

Etruria, the region occupied by the Etruscans, was rich in metals, particularly copper and iron. The Etruscans were master bronze smiths who exported their finished products all over the Mediterranean. Finely worked bronzes, such as thrones and chariots decorated with exquisite hammered reliefs (03.23.1), cast statues and statuettes (17.190.2066), as well as ornate vessels, mirrors, and stands, attest to the high quality achieved by Etruscan artists, particularly in the Archaic and Classical (ca. 490300 B.C.) periods. Opulent jewelry of gold and semi-precious stones (40.11.7-.18) exemplifies eastern Greek and Levantine forms adapted to Etruscan taste. Extensive trade in the Mediterranean during this period supplied artists with exotic materials such as ivory, amber (17.190.2067), ostrich eggs, and semi-precious stones, all of which fostered the development of Etruscan gem engraving and other arts. The Etruscans were also well known for their terracotta freestanding sculpture and architectural reliefs. Etruscan funerary works, particularly sarcophagi and cinerary urns (96.9.225a,b), often carved in high relief, comprise an especially rich source of evidence for artistic achievement during the Late Classical and Hellenistic periods. Source: Etruscan Art [MMA]

Hellenistic and Roman Cyprus [MMA]
The Mysterious Etruscans
Ancient History Sourcebook: Reports of the Etruscans, c. 430 BCE - 10 CE [Fordham University]
Obscure Etruscan Goddesses
Greek and Roman (including Etruscan) Galleries at The Met - audio tour available online





The Shewolf, La Lupa, c. 6th-5th century BCE, bronze.
















Lionhead, c. 5th century BCE, bronze.
















Chimera, c. 5th century BCE, bronze.
















Chimera, c. 5th century BCE, bronze.
















Chimera, c. 5th century BCE, bronze.
















Girl Acrobat, c. 3rd-2nd century BCE, bronze.
















Girl Athlete, 330-300 BCE, bronze.
















Shewolf with Romulus and Remus - the bronze twins were added during the Renaissance.
















Spear-throwers, c. 590 BCE, bronze.
















Spear-throwers, c. 590 BCE, bronze.
















City Square, Alberto Giacometti, 1938, bronze.
















Dog, Alberto Giacometti, 1951, bronze (MoMA).
















Apollo of Veii, c. 550 BCE, terracotta.
















Sarcophagus of a Married Couple, 6th century, BCE.
















Mother and child cinerary container, 6th century BCE.
















Mother and child cinerary container, 6th century BCE.
















Banqueter and Vanth, cinerary container, c. 400 BCE.
















Banqueter and Vanth, back, cinerary container, c. 400
















Reclining youth, cinerary container, 4th century BCE.



















Kouros (Youth), c. 590-580 BCE.
















Centaur, c. 550 BCE.
















Piacenzo Liver, 100 BC, bronze.
















Etruscan tomb
















Musician
















Fishing Scene
















Dancer
















The back of an Etruscan mirror
















Perseus beheading Medusa - the back of an Etruscan mirror
















Hercle and Uni - the back of an Etruscan mirror
Click here for more clarity.

Etruscan Mirrors:

Judgment of Paris

Misc. Mirrors

British Museum's Corpus of Etruscan Mirrors (Corpus Speculorum Etruscorum)