Etruscan sarcophagus (Volterra) mid-2ndc BC

Etruscan sarcophagus (Volterra) mid-2ndc BC


Etruscan_sarcophagus_Volterra


Etruscan sarcophagus (Volterra) mid-2ndc BC

Cinerary urn

Volterra

2

Alabaster

H overall 84 cm

MA 2357

As of the second half of the 4, the workshops of Volterra produced a new type of cinerary urn. The receptacle is usually decorated with a mythological or funerary scene carved in high relief. This one shows the deceased on the way to the hereafter, aboard a covered chariot drawn by mules (the carpentum, of Gallic origin), accompanied by a horseman and servants. This motif, which owes nothing to Greek art, is treated with the spontaneity and flavour of a scene from everyday life. The lid bears a likeness of the deceased, reclining in the attitude of a banqueter: here a young woman wearing her jewellery, holding a fan in her right hand, and in her left hand a pomegranate, symbol of immortality. The sculptor here employs a symbolic language that would later become one of the components of Roman art, the meaningful element being privileged to the detriment of formal perfection, the head at the expense of the rest of the body, the detail at the expense of the whole.

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