Etruscan Structures > Tomb of the Leopards

Tomb of the Leopards

The Tomb of the Leopards is a famous necropolis that was built by the Etruscans between 480 and 470 BCE/BC. What is unique about this tomb is that an archaic vase from Greece was discovered in this tomb which further cements the trade network that existed between Etruria and the Greeks.

Confronted leopards above a banqueting scene in the Tomb of the LeopardsThe Tomb of the Leopards (Italian Tomba dei Leopardi) is an Etruscan burial chamber so called for the confronted leopards painted above a banquet scene. The tomb is located within the Necropolis of Monterozzi and dates to around 480–450 BC.[1] The painting is one of the best-preserved murals of Tarquinia,[2] and is known for "its lively coloring, and its animated depictions rich with gestures."[3]A psykter found in the Tomb of the Leopards, depicting an athlete, a servant boy, a youth and a dog.The banqueters are "elegantly dressed" male-female couples attended by two nude boys carrying serving implements. The women are depicted as fair-skinned and the men as dark, in keeping with the gender conventions established in the Near East, Egypt and Archaic Greece. The arrangement of the three couples prefigures the triclinium of Roman dining.[2] Musicians are pictured on the walls to the left and right of the banquet.[2] On the right, a komos of wreathed figures and musicians approaches the banquet; on the left, six musicians and giftbearers appear in a more stately procession.[4]The man on the far-right couch holds up an egg, symbol of regeneration,[2] and other banqueters hold wreaths.[5] The scene is usually taken to represent the deceased's funerary banquet, or a family meal that would be held on the anniversary of his death. It is presented as a celebration of life,[2] while Etruscan banquet scenes in earlier tombs have a more somber character.[6] The scene appears to take place outdoors, within slender trees and vegetation, perhaps under a canopy.[7]Although the figures are distinctly Etruscan,[2] the artist of the central banquet draws on trends in Greek art and marks a transition from Archaic to Early Classical style in Etruscan art.[8] The processions on the left and right are more markedly Archaic and were executed by different artists.[9]The tomb was discovered in 1875. In the 1920s, D.H. Lawrence described the painting in his travel essays Sketches of Etruscan Places:Dancer and musiciansThe walls of this little tomb are a dance of real delight. The room seems inhabited still by Etruscans of the sixth century before Christ,[10] a vivid, life-accepting people, who must have lived with real fullness. On come the dancers and the music-players, moving in a broad frieze towards the front wall of the tomb, the wall facing us as we enter from the dark stairs, and where the banquet is going on in all its glory. … So that all is color, and we do not seem to be underground at all, but in some gay chamber of the past.[11]Artistically, the painting is regarded as less sophisticated and graceful than that found in the Tomb of the Bigas or the Tomb of the Triclinium.[5]References[edit]Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tomba dei Leopardi (Tarquinia).Jump up ^ Fred S. Kleiner, A History of Roman Art (Wadsworth, 2010), p. xxxv; Otto J. Brendel, Etruscan Art (Yale University Press, 1995), p. 269; Luisa Banti, Etruscan Cities and Their Culture (University of California Press, 1973), p. 79.^ Jump up to: a b c d e f Kleiner, A History of Roman Art, p. xxxv.Jump up ^ Stephan Steingräber, Abundance of Life: Etruscan Wall Painting (Getty Publications, 2006), p. 133.Jump up ^ Steingräber, Abundance of Life, p. 133. The narrative of the three walls reads from right to left, as does the written Etruscan language.^ Jump up to: a b Steingräber, Abundance of Life, p. 133.Jump up ^ Brendel, Etruscan Art, p. 269.Jump up ^ Kleiner, A History of Roman Art, p. xxxv; Brendel, Etruscan Art, p. 269.Jump up ^ Brendel, Etruscan Art, p. 270.Jump up ^ Steingräber, Abundance of Life, p. 134.Jump up ^ Lawrence's date is a century earlier than current scholarly consensus, as noted above.Jump up ^ D.H. Lawrence, Sketches of Etruscan Places and other Italian Essays in The Cambridge Edition of the Works of D.H. Lawrence, edited by Simonetta de Filippis (Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 47–48.[show] v t eEtruscan-related topicsCoordinates: 42°14′55″N 11°46′18″E

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