, 2001 - Art
- 671 pages
The Etruscans have long been a rich source of research and intellectual inquiry as the most significant ethnic group who resided in ancient Etruria, current-day Tuscany and Umbria in Italy. A well-defined polity, the Etruscans were an advanced people whose presence on the Italian peninsula from the 8th to 4th century B.C. had an enormous impact on Roman culture, whose rise of power saw the collapse of Etruscan civilization.
This book is extensive in its scope; it traces the rise of the Etruscans at the end of the Bronze Age; examines the economic structure of the society; explores the emergence of a powerful aristocracy in the period from 750-650 B.C.; and considers the religious and cultural life of the group. This knowledge has largely been gleaned from a wealth of monuments and material culture which the Etruscans left behind including architecture (the various forms of which indicate familial structure and socio-economic standing, not to mention the larger social structure of Etruscan society) and applied arts, such as bronze objects for both ceremonial use and everyday life, which were produced by an artisan class for a wealthy and demanding aristocracy.
Etruscan contributions to the history of art are also of immense importance and are explored in depth in this volume. Etruscan wall painting was exceptional in that it is one of the few examples of pre-Roman artistic production of this genre. Sculpture was also a relatively highly developed form of art, and the Etruscans are known for their important experiments with form.
Noted scholar Mario Torelli, editor of the book, gathers here an illuminating collection of essays reflective of the most current research on the Etruscans. As a professor of classical archaeology for nearly three decades who has directed archeological digs at some of the most significant Etruscan sites, Torelli offers a unique insight into the scholarly terrain of Etruscan studies. Torelli also contributes a substantive essay on Etruscan religion, exploring the rather exceptional character of this important aspect of Etruscan life.
Lavishly illustrated with beautiful reproductions of Etruscan art and culture, this impressive catalogue explores every aspect of the Etruscan people and their artistic and cultural legacy in the most expansive consideration of their enormous contribution to Western culture to date. The exhibition of the same name, organized by the world-renowned Palazzo Grassi, Venice, and this volume are destined to be landmarks in Etruscan studies.