Monday, May 24, 2010

MFA Preview: Etruscan Woman

This sculpture depicts the head of a wealthy Etruscan woman. The Etruscans were the mysterious people of central Italy who conquered and ruled the Romans in the 6th century B.C.E. Evidence shows that the Etruscans might have migrated from eastern Anatolia during prehistoric times.

The Romans settled a small fishing village on the banks of the Tiber River in the middle of the 700s B.C.E. Soon after, the Etruscans took over their territory and expanded the village into a large city. In 509 B.C.E. the Romans overthrew their Etruscan masters and formed the world's first republic.

Female head

Italic, Etruscan, Classical or Early Hellenistic Period, about 4th century B.C.

Height: 29.4 cm (11 9/16 in.)

Classification: Sculpture

On view in the: Italic and Etruscan Gallery

Female head. Worked fully in the round. Wavy hair, parted in center, under an elaborate diadem of rosettes and points. Behind diadem, hair indicated as uneven parallel strands. Heavy shield-shaped earrings lying flat to the ears. Corded necklace with a pendant on each side. Pinkish-buff terracotta. Remnants of white slip over surface. Plaster (modern) added to neck in back for balance. From Cerveteri.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Everett Fund, 1888
Accession number: 88.358
Provenance/Ownership History: By 1886: said to have been found at Cervetri; by 1888: with Pennelli; purchased by R. Lanciani from Pennelli; purchased by MFA from R. Lanciani, 1888, for $491.89 (this is the total purchase price for MFA 88.346–530)

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