History Podcasts

Etruscan Antefix from Cerveteri

Etruscan Antefix from Cerveteri


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.


The use of the antefix on Greek, Etruscan and Roman architecture

Antefixes were mold-made, usually brightly painted, terracotta decorative covers to conceal the edges of joined roof tiles and protect the seams from the elements. They often took the form of heads, either of humans or mythological creatures. The earliest examples in museum collections date back to the 6th century BCE in both Greece and Etruria. They were also a frequent feature on Roman architecture as well.

On temple roofs, maenads and satyrs were often alternated. The frightening features of the Gorgon, with its petrifying eyes and sharp teeth was also a popular motif to ward off evil. A Roman example from the Augustan period features the butting heads of two billy goats. It may have had special significance in imperial Rome since the constellation Capricorn was adopted by the emperor Augustus as his own lucky star sign and appeared on coins and legionary standards.

In 2005, I visited the Villa Giulia in Rome that houses a large Etruscan collection. In their courtyard is a reproduction of an Etruscan temple with antefixes. I've included my images of it here along with photographs of various antefixes I have photographed at the Getty Villa, the Walters Art Museum and images of those at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


The Etruscan Antefix: Art, Architecture and Apotropaism

The public and private buildings of ancient Etruria differed from many similar Greco/Roman structures as they were often constructed from materials that degenerated over time (like wood, mud, turf and tile). The decay, leaving only ruined stone foundations, subterranean passages and fragments of other architectural materials. Nevertheless, despite the lack of substantial surviving architecture, evidence left to us by the Roman writer and architect Vitruvius, in addition to archeological remains, have enabled a better understanding of Etruscan architecture.

During the Archaic period, antefixes were produced in great numbers throughout Etruria, especially in Caere, southern Etruria (modern-day Cerveteri). Accordingly, many examples have survived. These painted terracotta objects were commonly used on the eaves of a roof, in order to protect the end tiles from the elements. They also formed part of the architectural decoration of buildings and were believed to banish bad luck.

References: Axel Boëthius, Etruscan and Early Roman Architecture, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1978.

David M. Robinson, “Etruscan-Campanian Antefixes and Other Terra-Cottas from Italy at the Johns Hopkins University.” In the American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Jan. – Mar., 1923), pp. 1-22.

Mark Cartwright, “Etruscan Architecture”. Ancient History Encyclopaedia, 23 January, 2017. https://www.ancient.eu/Etruscan_Architecture/

Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, The Architecture of Marcus Vitruvius Pollio in Ten Books, trans. Joseph Gwilt, London, Lockwood and Co., 1874. https://warburg.sas.ac.uk/pdf/kfh125b2128022.pdf

Images: Terracotta Antefix with Head of a Maenad, late 4th century BCE, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Public domain image.

A 19th century reconstruction of an Etruscan temple at the Villa Giulia Museum, Rome. This image was first published on Flickr. Original image by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra. Uploaded by Mark Cartwright, published on 31 January 2017 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution.

Painted terracotta tile-end (antefix) moulded with a female head in a elaborate frame, 520-470 BCE, The British Museum. © Trustees of the British Museum.

Terracotta Antefix, 6th century BCE, The British Museum. © Trustees of the British Museum.

Terracotta Antefix, late 6th century BCE, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Public domain image.


The J. Paul Getty Museum

This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Antefix with a Female Head

Unknown 24 × 18 × 9 cm (9 7/16 × 7 1/16 × 3 9/16 in.) 83.AD.211.6

Open Content images tend to be large in file-size. To avoid potential data charges from your carrier, we recommend making sure your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network before downloading.

Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 110, The Etruscans

Alternate Views

Front- Main view

Object Details

Title:

Antefix with a Female Head

Artist/Maker:
Culture:
Place:

Caere, Etruria (Place Created)

Medium:
Object Number:
Dimensions:

24 × 18 × 9 cm (9 7/16 × 7 1/16 × 3 9/16 in.)

Credit Line:
Department:
Classification:
Object Type:
Object Description

One of a pair of disk earrings, the disk is formed of a circular gold sheet, the outer surface of which has a central This mold-made antefix takes the form of a frontal female head, with a fringe of hair falling in vertical finger-waves across her forehead. She wears a tall diadem and large disk earrings outlined in red pigment to form six-petal rosettes. In addition to her earrings, red pigment is preserved on the hair and lips, which are raised at the corners in a slight smile. The eyes and brows are outlined in black, and the skin is painted white. Part of the cover tile projects from the back of the antefix. The neck and long tresses below the ears are missing.

To shield wooden roof beams from the elements, tiles known as antefixes capped the ends, forming a line along the eaves. The tiles were often decorated with female heads representing nymphs (spirits of the natural world) or priestesses. From the same mold series as this antefix come a number of similar tiles from localities around Cerveteri, including the Temple of Hera at Vigna Parocchiale and the sanctuary at San Antonio.

Provenance
Provenance

Leon Lévy, 1926 - 2003 (New York, New York), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983.

Bibliography
Bibliography

"Acquisitions/1983." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 12 (1984), p. 255, no. 134.

Wohl, Birgitta Lindros. "Three Female Head Antefixes from Etruria." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 12 (1984), pp. 111-118, pp. 112-16 and figs. 3a-b, where wrongly cited as .11.

Rizzo, Maria Antonietta, "Scavi e ricerche nell'area sacra di S. Antonio a Cerveteri,"in Mediterranea. Quaderni Annuali dell'Istituto di Studi sulle Civilta Italiche e del Mediterraneo Antico V (2008) 91-120, p. 107, footnote 5 (incorrectly cited as .11).

Winter, Nancy. Symbols of Wealth and Power: Architectural Terracotta Decoration in Etruria and Central Italy, 640-510 B.C. (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2009), p.440, fn. 111 (cat. 6C4E).

This information is published from the Museum's collection database. Updates and additions stemming from research and imaging activities are ongoing, with new content added each week. Help us improve our records by sharing your corrections or suggestions.

/> The text on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, unless otherwise noted. Images and other media are excluded.

The content on this page is available according to the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) specifications. You may view this object in Mirador – a IIIF-compatible viewer – by clicking on the IIIF icon below the main image, or by dragging the icon into an open IIIF viewer window.


New Documentary Spotlights the Detective Work Behind an Infamous Art Theft

Like drugs and guns, art theft is one of the highest-grossing criminal enterprises in the world. Further, it is thought that only five to ten percent of stolen works are ever recovered—a statistic that is both startling and saddening. Despite having no direct victims, art crime deprives people of their cultural heritage. In Hollywood movies, the process of tracking down treasured works typically unfolds with dizzying car chases, shootouts, and a romantic cliffhanger. The reality, however, is far more nuanced—though no less gripping—as comes to light in Lot 448, a new documentary premiering at this year’s virtual Tribeca Film Festival sponsored by Bulgari. In fact, the Italian jewelry house, known for its commitment to restoring cultural landmarks, plays a key role in the happy ending. Ahead of the premiere, AD spoke to the heroine at the film's center: Lynda Albertson, the forensic analyst who has made it her life mission to track down famous missing works of art and repatriate them to their rightful owners.

AD: How would you describe what you do? And what is the difference between a forensic analyst and an art detective?

Lynda Albertson: I am a forensic analyst who assists, where possible, law enforcement in uncovering useful details surrounding crimes against art and antiquities. A detective is an investigator who is usually a member of a law enforcement agency who works to find legally admissible evidence that is sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction of those who are guilty and warrant prosecution. The few analysts who do this type of work don't have the same mandate as law enforcement, as we are not burdened with having to work on specific cases, or within a given jurisdiction, or by a structured deadline. That freedom allows me to piece together information from a variety of sources in order to assess threats that impact more than one country or jurisdiction and often involves developing transnational relationships, forming networks, and partnering with international, national, state, and local law enforcement communities.

Lynda Albertson in her car, outside of Florence, en route to the tombs of Baditaccia near Rome.

AD: How did you fall into this career path?

LA: I started working with the Association for Research Into Crimes Against Art (ARCA) in the summer of 2011. But, in what seems like a lifetime ago, I had already worked with judicial authorities providing risk of flight and danger to the community assessments to the U.S. courts for arrestees in federal criminal cases.

AD: How do projects come your way? Do institutions or the victims of a theft seek you out? Or do you follow the crime?

LA: I start by hoarding information on stolen art and suspected illicit antiquities, gathering as much information as I can from a variety of sources. Then I try to make sense out of that vast amount of information. As I begin to analyze, I start to see patterns. Sometimes those patterns appear like single solitary raindrops of information, but when they coalesce into puddles I know I am on to something. When the puddles turn into streams, I know my hunch is worth sharing with police who have the legal mandate to pursue these cases within the limits of the law.

AD: How do you determine which projects to pursue?

LA: I will work on anything where I see a pattern developing, though I have a soft spot for artifact harvest countries that have been heavily looted for financial gains, like Italy and Egypt, or artifacts coming from conflict countries whose wars have made them vulnerable to plunder.

Cinematographer Steeven Petitteville sits among the tombs where the Antefix was looted from in Banditaccia, outside of Rome.

AD: What is the typical timeline of a project, or does it vary drastically? And do some cases remain open and unsolved?

LA: That's the rub to my work. Sometimes it is trying to get an object pulled from an auction before the sand runs out of my hourglass, and often I know something is looted, but there is insufficient evidence to force the seller's hand, or the statute of limitations has expired, or the country where the artifact was plundered cannot move quickly enough with the letters of rogatory needed for law enforcement in one country to assist law enforcement in another country.

When they do get away, sometimes I just wait until they come back on the market again or the information I gathered on one looted piece helps with another. In the end, any efforts, even the unsuccessful ones, are still worthwhile.

Albertson and forensic archaeologist Stefano Alessandrini at the Montemartini Museum in Rome after finding out the antefix was coming back to Italy.

Photo: Steeven Petitteville

AD: Can you share the story of the Etruscan antefix that is the subject of the film? How did it come onto your radar?

LA: I received a lead from an informant who texted me about a month before its scheduled sale. I can't tell you who my source is, but this person told me that a dancing follower of Dionysus was coming up for auction and I might want to take a look at her. Looking at the names attached to this beautiful Meanad, I knew immediately that the U.K. dealers, Bruce and Ingrid McAlpine, could be problematic.

This British couple had dealings with a suspect dealer from Rome named Giacomo Medici, and another object looted from Italy, an Attic black-figured hydria, had previously come through the McAlpines purchased from Palladion Antike Kunst, a gallery operated by another disgraced ancient art dealer Gianfranco Becchina. The antefix was also clearly stylistically Etruscan. My hunch was it came from Cerveteri or the area around Veii, an important ancient Etruscan city situated on the southern limits of Etruria. I was also more than sure that if the auction house had actual documentation that the antefix came from a storied old collection, i.e. legal provenance, it would have listed those details in the lot's description. As there was no collection history prior to 1994, I felt confident that the dancing girl was removed from Italy in contravention of Italian law.

AD: Can you describe the range of emotions, first thinking it was lost forever, and then learning that Bulgari had bought it and was returning it to an institution where it could be enjoyed and appreciated by all?

LA: In terms of emotion, first I was heartbroken that it sold and alternately raw with anger that I didn't have more time to research her origins so that I could have given the Carabinieri enough evidence to have her pulled from sale, where they could have then negotiated to have sixth-century B.C. artifact voluntarily relinquished. While I don't think any country, or its kind and generous donors, should be forced to buy back their looted art, I am forever grateful to Bulgari for stepping in and seeing the value and rarity of her.

Albertson walks through the halls of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

AD: You are the first female in your position. Why do you think more women haven't pursued or felt they could pursue this career path?


Etruscan Antefix

An antefix is a terracotta object placed along a house gutter to hold a row of tiles above it. This one is decorated with the head of a young man. It is in mint condition. It had been buried for nearly three thousand years and still bears traces of the soil. It tells me that the Etruscans spent a lot of effort decorating their houses, and had a deep appreciation of civic beauty. It was evidently made, as one of many, on a very early production line. This would have given a pleasing effect of uniformity along the house gutter. Since this was a cheap method of production, it tells us that economics was an important consideration even in those days.

Comments are closed for this object

Comments

The word 'economics' refers to an academic discipline. In the last sentence, which ends 'it tells us that economics was an important consideration even in those days' the word 'economics' should read 'cost'.

Share this link:

Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site’s House Rules please Flag This Object.


Lot 448: The Race To Recover Italy’s Looted Etruscan Treasures

Tumulus tomb, Etruscan necropolis of Banditaccia, Cerveteri (Unesco World Heritage List, 2004), . [+] Lazio, Italy. Etruscan civilisation.

De Agostini via Getty Images

“In my work, there’s only one enemy: time,” says art crime expert Lynda Albertson in the documentary Lot 448. Premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on February 2, the art heist short film follows Albertson in her quest to prove the suspect origins of an Etruscan artifact before it can be sold at auction.

The black market sale of art and antiquities is one of the most lucrative criminal enterprises in the world. Less than 10% of looted works are estimated to be successfully recovered. Albertson is a forensic scientist and CEO of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art (ARCA). She engages in detailed detective work to provide evidence that an artwork is stolen and allow law enforcement in countries around the world to take action. One of her cases is now the subject of the short but powerful documentary Lot 448, directed by Bella Monticelli.

Italy’s antiquities have been heavily looted for centuries. Banditaccia, an Etruscan necropolis and World Heritage Site in Italy, is one victim. In Lot 448, Stefano Alessandrini, ARCA Consultant and Illicit Trafficking Analyst, posits that around 90% of Banditaccia’s 20,000 tombs have been plundered. “We found huge holes about ten meters square, very deep, to recover the antefixes, the terracottas,” he says in the documentary.

Albertson’s mission in Lot 448 is to prevent the sale of one of Banditaccia’s pillaged pieces. It is a fifth century BC antefix, a decorative block that would have been used to conceal and protect converging tiles at the eaves of a roof. In the documentary, the artifact is due to be sold at a Christie’s auction, but Albertson notes it has a suspicious provenance. It is listed as being from the estate of Ingrid McAlpine, whose family has been repeatedly linked to antiquities trafficker Giacomo Medici. Medici was arrested and charged in 2008 for digging up and selling antiquities to museums and private collectors across the world.

Lynda Albertson with Brigadier General Fabrizio Parrulli, Commander of the Italian Carabinieri . [+] Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage after the recovery of two precious Etruscan artifacts in October 2018 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Stefano Montesi - Corbis/Getty Images)


Etruscan Polychrome Terracotta Antefix of Woman

Classical World, Etruria, central Italy, ca. 2nd century BCE. A fascinating architectural antefix, made from a coarse, red terracotta, molded and painted to form a woman’s face. She is pale, with thin, arched black brows, black-outlined eyes with large pupils, and black hair that parts in the center of her forehead and hangs down the sides of her face. Black curlicues create her ears. She has a thin nose and her mouth is upturned into a close-mouthed smile that, to this modern viewer, gives her a mischievous look. Size: 5.25″ W x 6″ H (13.3 cm x 15.2 cm) 8.5″ H (21.6 cm) on included custom stand.

The Etruscans used antefixes to protect and conceal the terracotta tiles along the eaves of a roof, as well as to serve an apotropaic function and ward off bad influences. These were mold-made and almost always in the form of a male or female head. Many of these were made in the workshops at Caere (Cerveteri) in southern Etruria.

See a similar example at Christie’s from 2012 which sold for for GBP 12,500 (approximately USD 17,000): https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/ancient-art-antiquities/an-etruscan-terracotta-antefix-circa-6th-5th-century-5546887-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=5546887&sid=cdcbf690-ff26-4f0b-ba3d-33dc16911855

Condition: Small chips from the edges and losses to the paint, but overall in very nice condition with well-preserved pigment.

Provenance: private Florida, USA collection, purchased in 1981 from antiquities shop in Rome, Italy


Antefix in the shape of female head, from Cerveteri, Rome province, Italy

Your Easy-access (EZA) account allows those in your organisation to download content for the following uses:

  • Tests
  • Samples
  • Composites
  • Layouts
  • Rough cuts
  • Preliminary edits

It overrides the standard online composite licence for still images and video on the Getty Images website. The EZA account is not a licence. In order to finalise your project with the material you downloaded from your EZA account, you need to secure a licence. Without a licence, no further use can be made, such as:

  • focus group presentations
  • external presentations
  • final materials distributed inside your organisation
  • any materials distributed outside your organisation
  • any materials distributed to the public (such as advertising, marketing)

Because collections are continually updated, Getty Images cannot guarantee that any particular item will be available until time of licensing. Please carefully review any restrictions accompanying the Licensed Material on the Getty Images website and contact your Getty Images representative if you have a question about them. Your EZA account will remain in place for a year. Your Getty Images representative will discuss a renewal with you.

By clicking the Download button, you accept the responsibility for using unreleased content (including obtaining any clearances required for your use) and agree to abide by any restrictions.


Etruscan Antefix from Cerveteri - History

Painted Etruscan Antefixes - part III

An antefix (from Latin antefigere, to fasten before) is a vertical block which terminates and conceals the covering tiles of a tiled roof. It also serves to protect the join from the elements.

During the Archaic period, antefixes were produced in great numbers throughout Etruria, especially in Caere, southern Etruria (modern-day Cerveteri). Accordingly, many examples have survived. These painted terracotta objects were commonly used on the eaves of a roof, in order to protect the end tiles from the elements. They also formed part of the architectural decoration of buildings and were believed to banish bad luck.

Antefix with the head of Silenus / Excavations under the Cathedral of Perugia, Italy / 4th-3rd century BCE

Antefix with the head of Silenus with nimbus / Veii, Italy / 5th century BCE

Antefix with a head of woman / Etruria, central Italy / ca. early 5th century BCE

Antefix with the head of Silenus / Italy / 5th century BCE

Antefix with the head of Silenus / Italy / 5th century BCE

Antefix with the head of Medusa / from temple in the southern sanctuary at Veii, Italy / 5th century BCE


The J. Paul Getty Museum

This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Female Bust Antefix

Unknown 34.5 × 28 × 26.1 cm (13 9/16 × 11 × 10 1/4 in.) 83.AD.211.11

Open Content images tend to be large in file-size. To avoid potential data charges from your carrier, we recommend making sure your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network before downloading.

Not currently on view

Object Details

Title:
Artist/Maker:
Culture:
Place:

Caere, Etruria (Place Created)

Medium:
Object Number:
Dimensions:

34.5 × 28 × 26.1 cm (13 9/16 × 11 × 10 1/4 in.)

Credit Line:
Alternate Title:

Antefix (Roof Ornament) (Display Title)

Department:
Classification:
Object Type:
Object Description

Originally surrounded by a large scalloped shell, a woman's head decorates this broken antefix or architectural decoration. The woman wears a diadem, earrings, a necklace, and a patterned dress. An artisan added bright paint to the molded terracotta head to emphasize the antefix's effect and visibility.

Although this antefix is unusual because it is a bust of a figure, not just a head, the Getty Museum owns another antefix made from the same mold. Antefixes very similar to this example were found at Caere.

The roof tiles running along the eaves of ancient Greek and Etruscan buildings often ended in upright members called antefixes. These mold-made terracottas often took the form of heads, either of humans or mythological creatures. As well as being decorative, architectural terracottas served to cover and protect exposed wooden parts of the architecture from the elements.

Provenance
Provenance

Leon Lévy, 1926 - 2003 (New York, New York), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Beyond Beauty: Antiquities as Evidence (December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999)
The Color of Life (March 6 to June 23, 2008)
Bibliography
Bibliography

Del Chiaro, Mario A. "Two Fragmentary Etruscan Terracotta Panels." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, vol. 12 (1984), pp. 119-122, the discussuion and illustration (pp. 121-22, fig. 3) wrongly cite this object the actual object is .3.

"Acquisitions/1983." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 12 (1984), p. 255, no. 135.

Wohl, Birgitta Lindros. "Three Female Head Antefixes from Etruria." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 12 (1984), pp. 111-118, the discussion and illustration (pp. 112-16, fig. 3a-b) wrongly cite this object the actual object is .6.

Cristofani, Mauro. "Nuovi dati per la storia urbana di Caere." Bollettino d'Arte (January-April 1986), pp. 1-24, p. 20, no. 5.

Guidi, G. F., V. Bellelli, and G. Trojsi. Il Guerriero di Ceri. Tecnologie per far rivivere e interpretare un capolavoro della pittura etrusca su terracotta. (Rome: Ente per le Nuove Tecnologie, l'Energia e l'Ambiente, 2006), pp. 16, 37, 39, where wrongly cited as this object actual object discussed and illustrated is .3.

This information is published from the Museum's collection database. Updates and additions stemming from research and imaging activities are ongoing, with new content added each week. Help us improve our records by sharing your corrections or suggestions.

/> The text on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, unless otherwise noted. Images and other media are excluded.

The content on this page is available according to the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) specifications. You may view this object in Mirador – a IIIF-compatible viewer – by clicking on the IIIF icon below the main image, or by dragging the icon into an open IIIF viewer window.


Watch the video: Etruscan Art (July 2022).


Comments:

  1. Adnan

    Horror

  2. Lange

    I versed in this matter. We can discuss.

  3. Stein

    I apologize that I interfere, I too would like to express my opinion.

  4. Nancie

    This sentence is simply incomparable :), I like)))

  5. Rhys

    I can recommend to visit to you a site on which there are many articles on a theme interesting you.



Write a message