Etruscan terracota votive head sculpture, 4th – 3rd century B.C.

Etruscan male head, made of moulded terracotta. It represents a man with an ideal face, with a straight mouth and thick lips, perfectly combed with the hair gathered in thick locks regularly arranged around the face, covered by a veil on the back. The figure also shows a striated lower band that could represent some kind of textile necklace or ornament. The Etruscans produced heads, profiles of faces, hands, feet and other parts of the body as annexed votive offerings in baked clay for votive use. Etruscan art is often of a religious nature and is therefore related to the demands of the Etruscan religion. The life of Etruscan ultratumba was negative, unlike the positive point of view of ancient Egypt where it was a continuation of earthly life, or relations of trust with the gods themselves of ancient Greece. The Etruscan gods were indifferent and tended to bring good luck, so the Etruscan religion was centered on their veneration and worship of the dead. Most of the remains of Etruscan art are found in cemetery excavations (such as in Cerveteri, Tarquinia, Populonia, Orvieto, Vetulonia, Norchia), which means that we see Etruscan art dominated by representations of religion and in particular funerary worship. In the clay urns where the remains of the deceased were kept, there are sculptural elements representing anatomical elements of the deceased, for example, the head-shaped lid. At a later stage, life-size human figures appear reclining on the lid as if it were a bed. The faces denote the influence of archaic Greek sculpture. In contrast to Greek stone sculpture, the Etruscan sculpture takes shape in softer materials that allow a more elastic, fluid and rounded modulation imbibing in the figures a natural spontaneity.


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