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will be found nearly coincident with the chronological arrangement we have just spoken of.
I. Early Italian Ware.
III. Red Etruscan Ware.
IV. Miscellaneous Varnished Ware, mostly of the Early
Before, however, we proceed to individual description, it seems worth while to say a few words on the origin and progress of the art of pottery and vase painting in Italy.
Now, though nearly all the vases in the Vase Room were found in Italy, and are of Italian origin, there is good reason for supposing that the finest specimens of the workmanship of Etruria and of Magna Graecia were the result of their connexion with the Greeks: the Mythological subjects depicted on their vases and the art with which they are painted clearly point to such a connexion.
It must, however, be remembered, in attempting to trace the progress of this art in Italy, that there were from remote antiquity two distinct races occupying different portions of that Peninsula—the Oscan or Sabellian tribes in Lower and Central Italy, of which the Romans were descendants; and the Etruscans or Rasenians, in the district north of Tiber. The chief seat of the latter people was round Caere and Tarquinii (Tarchonion). Both were affected by Hellenic influences, but in a different manner; the races of Southern Italy, chiefly by the Greek colonies, which settled in Magna Gratia, at Vulternum (Capua) and Nola: those of Northern Italy, by their intercourse with Corinth, as we have already mentioned. The temple architecture of the Etruscans was an offshoot of the Grecian Doric with considerable modifications, and their tombs, in the peculiarity of their construction, recall the Mausoleums of the Lydian rulers. From a general consideration of the remains of Etruscan art Miiller has inferred that the sombre and severe spirit of the Etruscan nation has shown itself in Art to be much more receptive than productive, inasmuch as at its early acquaintance with Greek, and especially Peloponnesian artists, it faithfully appropriated their style, and adhered to it for centuries.
At the period, when Art in Greece had attained its highest development, the intercourse between the two nations was much interrupted, chiefly by the Samnite conquest of Etruria, about B.c. 420; while, on the other hand, the unity of the Etruscan race itself was inwardly too much broken and decayed to appropriate Art with equal success when carried to perfection: and, hence, subsequently to this period, we meet with few good specimens of genuine Etruscan Art.
I. Early Italian Ware.
Of these, one of the most interesting is No. 1.
This is an oval vase of coarse brown ware, in the form of the Tugurium, or rustic cottage of the early inhabitants of Italy, having at one end a moveable door, flanked by perpendicular ridges and grooves, which perhaps represent fluted pilasters. The surface of the vase appears to have been painted, as traces of a rude maeander pattern remain in several places. The interior is filled with burnt bones. This interesting specimen of the earliest Italian fictile art was found in 1817, in the Monte Albano, near the road from Castel Gandolfo to Marino, about thirteen miles from Rome, and was presented to the Museum by W. R. Hamilton, Esq.
No. 11 is a Cyathus of coarse brown ware and archaic workmanship, with the handle divided into two parts, so as to be held by separate fingers, and surmounted by projections for the thumbs. The body has round it three knobs, and a rudely hatched fret.
No. 10 is an Askos in coarse brown ware and archaic workmanship, having on the body feather-shaped ornaments formed of incised lines, and the neck encircled by seven parallel lines. The handle is ridged.
The general character of this class of vases is, as we stated, rudeness and coarseness of execution. They are evidently the work of the early people of Italy, before they had been influenced by Greek taste. These vases have been chiefly found at Cervetri, the ancient Caere.
II. Black Etruscan Ware.
The vases of this class do not differ very much from the preceding, but they show some progress towards both elegance of pattern and of shape. Certain peculiarities of form may be remarked in these two classes, indicating the origin of many of these early vases. Thus, Nos. 80—84 are evidently imitations of wooden structure. Nos. 169,171, 173,174, of metal work. No. 20, an Askos from the leather vessel which preserved the wine; and vases in the shape of a canopus, suggesting an Egyptian origin—such as Nos. 176*. 176**, 176***. The oldest have only a rude zigzag hatched pattern traced on their surface, the material being black all through; the representations of animals, projecting heads of animals, &c., and friezes, make their appearance subsequently. In some cases, these friezes appear to have been impressed from cylinders, which have been rolled over their surfaces. Human heads and figures occur still later, together with Caryatid forms, resembling those of Egypt, and used like pilasters to support capitals.
No. 37, which has been repainted in modern times, has its body and neck encircled by grooved lines, and the upper part of the handle formed in imitation of snakes' heads. No. 53 is a double vase with one handle. Its upper division is striated, and the lower encircled by a band of floral ornaments, which are incised upon it. No.60 is a Cyathus with a foot; having round the mouth two zigzag incised bands, and a handle, which is ornamented with a lion's face, two ivy leaves, and a bud. No. 108 is a Kantharos, having round the body a row of lozenges, and another of intersecting hatched curves, with a row of flowers punched in, and grooved lines. The base is fluted. No. 163 is a Cyathus, the body of which is encircled by a row of female heads in relief, four in number, and the lip surmounted by five buds. On the handle is a male figure in relief, clad in a tunic which reaches to the loins, and wearing long hair, his head being surmounted by a bud. No. 165 is a Krater, supported by seven Caryatid figures with long hair in sleeveless tunics. Each holds in both hands above the head a basket. Round the body of the vase are seven fan-shaped ornaments punctuated, and four concentric grooved bands. No. 166 is a Krater supported by a central foot, round which two Caryatids are placed alternately, with two pilasters placed so as to imitate trellis work. The heads of the Caryatids are surmounted by a polos; they hold their hair in their hands, and their wings are pendant. The central pillar tapers spirally from a pierced base, and rude representations of dogs and birds are formed by the open work of the pilasters. The body of the vase is encircled by three parallel grooves, above which are fan shaped ornaments punctuated. At the bottom of the Krater, inside, are grooved lines radiating from a circle.
III. Red Etruscan Ware.
There are but few specimens of this ware; but it has considerable resemblance in style to the preceding class. All those in the Museum have been discovered at Cervetri. No. 184* is a jar in red grittish ware with a fluted body. On the shoulder is a group repeated three times, so as to form a frieze. Two chariots are in rapid movement; under the horses of the foremost, is a hare, under those of the second, a dog running; in front, three combatants on foot. No. 185 is a saucer, bearing on the brim,'and on the inside of the mouth, the impression of a frieze from a cylinder, representing a bull devoured by two lions. No. 186 has a long and elaborate frieze impressed in the same manner as that on the last mentioned, representing two figures, apparently draped females, with conical caps, reclining on a couch, beneath whieh are two birds. At the head of the couch stands a naked male figure playing on the double flute, and at the foot are two vases, one placed upon the other, and a branch. Towards these a naked male figure is advancing, raising his right hand, and holding an instrument, in shape like a hatchet, but perhaps intended for a strainer; before him is a branch inclined. Behind this group is a female stretched on a couch at full length, with a low table at the side, and a naked male figure advancing to the foot of the couch. The whole subject is repeated seven times. These friezes are bordered by an incuse astragalus moulding. No. 187 is a saucer of smaller dimensions, but with a frieze disposed round it in a similar manner, and repeated several times.
IV. Miscellaneous Varnished Ware, mostly of the Early
The vases of this class are chiefly found in the same tombs at Cer- vetri and Vulci as the early Graeco-Italian vases with painted figures. They seldom have any ornament beyond a hatched or a zigzag pattern, with a few flowrets stamped upon them. Their material is a pale red clay, and the varnish used is black or red, often exhibiting a metallic lustre. Occasionally, though rarely, there are representations of the human face, as in Nos. 244, 286, 282, 283.
V. Italian Vases of the Archaic Greek Style.
The vases in this style are particularly interesting, as well from the character of their Art as from the subjects which are presented to us upon them. They have certain peculiarities which separate them off with great distinctness from the more archaic works which we have just described, and the finer vases which we shall mention hereafter. On these, for the first time, is painted the human figure, while animal forms constantly occur in friezes, and as detached subjects. The ground of the vase itself is generally ash-coloured; the design is always black or crimson, and the outer lines of the figure, and the inner lines marking the development of the muscles, are ineised with a graving tool. The figures are almost always represented on a ground semee with flowers. The earlier vases have nothing on them but human forms, animals, and flowers; on the later ones, subjects taken from the Iliad, and the Epic cycle generally, begin to make their appearance. On comparing these designs with the contemporary Greek sculpture, it may be said that they are to the vases of the best period what the sculptures from Selinus,Agrigentum, and iEgina, are to those of the Parthenon. It must at the same time be remembered, that not every individual vase which is arranged here under this period is certainly of that date. As in the case of the statues and busts of the Towneley collection, so also in that of the vases in this room: some are doubtless copies of more ancient works, and reproductions at a later period of the Archaic style. They have been discovered chiefly at Vulci and Nola, at Campo-Scala, near Vulci, at Civita-Vecchia, and Cervetri, and a few likewise in Magna Graecia.
Of the earlier and more simple ones, the following are good examples:—Nos. 309—10,316—17, have representations of animals in black and crimson, on a dark brown ground. The rudest are Nos. 328—331, with lions, stags, and aquatic birds. No. 330, a very fine and interesting specimen of its class: a Krater, with columnar handles of ash-coloured clay; the design is in black and crimson, with incised lines, containing two friezes; on the first, a swan between two panthers, and a swan between two birds with ears; on the second, a goat facing two panthers, repeated four times; on each handle is a bird with ears, and under each a pair of pigeons.
No. 338, an Aryballos of ash-coloured clay, and a design in black and crimson, with incised lines, representing two lions confronted, and a hare placed vertically between them. The ground is semee with flowers. No. 339, an Alabastron in pale clay, with design in black and incised lines, representing two Sirens flying to the right; the one in front turning back to look at her companion, who is playing on the double flute.
No. 358, an Aryballos in ash-coloured clay, and a design in black and crimson, and incised lines, which has been retouched. On it is a bearded male figure, with drapery round his loins, raising both hands in adoration, and before him a bird with ears. No. 369, an Aryballos in ash-coloured clay, the design in brown and crimson, with incised lines, representing five figures, three of whom are bearded, and all of whom wear chitons reaching to the loins; they stand in grotesque attitudes, and form two groups; the field is semee with flowers, and on the handle is a female head and a flower. No. 373, an Aryballos of ash-coloured clay; the design in black and crimson,