VILLA GIULIA, SCULPTURES

Audio File length: 2.57
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English / USA Language: English / USA

You've finally reached the most important masterpiece in Villa Giulia: the large Etruscan terracotta sculptures of Veii. These works pull you in with their vitality, come from the temple of Portonaccio a few kilometers from Rome, and date back to 500 BC.

The most important sculpture is the famous Apollo of Veii, and I suggest focusing your attention on it for a moment. The god is depicted as he is walking, and he probably held a bow in his arms, which are unfortunately missing. Look at how elegantly the folds of his robe are depicted, and how his smile, hairstyle, and the definition of his features recall archaic Greek art. Yet his separated legs and athletic body sharply contrast the traditional stability and frontal view of Greek sculpture, and give Apollo's body a vibrant dynamic sense that is accentuated by the fact that the statue is presented in a profiled position.

Another touching masterpiece of Etruscan art that you can't miss is the Sarcophagus of the Spouses that was found in the Banditaccia necropolis near Cerveteri, in the province of Rome. It's dated back to around 520 BC, and this terracotta urn contained the ashes of the deceased. You can see the couch that was used for dining on the large box, and the deceased pair lying down on the lid, who look as if they're attending a banquet in the afterlife.

The sculptor wanted to give much more importance to the upper part of their bodies, especially their faces. The features of the two figures are in line with the Etruscan sculptural style, with highly elegant straight and direct lines. Also note the particular way the heads have been worked, with elongated skulls, protruding noses and chins, and the dry cut of their eyes and profile. Their gestures are also expressively and dynamically carved into the terracotta: the man, who was probably holding a cup that has been lost, affectionately rests his arm on his wife's shoulders.

While walking around the museum you can also learn about Etruscan fashion, such as the typical bridal shoes, typical women's headgear of eastern origin, and the long braids that fell down their chests.

 

FUN FACT: music was very important to the Etruscans, even while they were hunting. From the information that has been passed down generation to generation, we know that the animals would be frightened at first, but would then be attracted by the sweet melodies, would approach, and would fall into the hunters' traps.

And with this we have finished our tour of Villa Giulia. MyWoWo thanks you for staying with us, and will see you at the next Wonder of the World!

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