Unknown artist, Etruscan; Umbria
24.5 x 8.5 cm (9 5/8 x 3 3/8 inches) (preserved)
Mary B. Jackson Fund 34.011
(December 31, 1969)
Depicting a warrior striding into battle, this piece was a votive offering to Mars, the god of war. It was intended to bring good fortune in battle, and represented either the donor or the god himself. Adorned in armor and greaves (shin guards), the figure would have been brandishing a spear in his upraised right hand, and likely bore a shield in his left. The helmet is delicately crafted, with an elaborate crest that emphasizes the elongated style of the piece. This figure was discovered in modern Umbria, a region in central Italy. The military prowess of the Etruscans was legendary, reaching its height by the 6th century BCE, with most of the Italian peninsula, even the city of Rome, under their control.
Originating in Umbria, a northern Italian area with close connections to the Etruscans, this statuette depicts a warrior striding forcefully into battle. His upraised right hand originally held a spear, and he may also have borne a shield over his left arm. His armor is of standard Italic type with an Attic-style helmet, a fringed breastplate, and greaves (shin guards) on his legs. The artist lavished much attention on the helmet, particularly the crest and the upraised cheek pieces. The body’s limbs are very elongated and thin, a convention common in Italic art of this period, which tended to be less naturalistic than contemporary art of Greek origin. This votive statuette may represent either the deity Mars or the donor, a mortal warrior making an offering to the god of war.
Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. “Selected Works”. Providence: Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 2008.
Mitten, David Gordon. “Classical Bronzes”. Providence: Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1975.
Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. “A Handbook of the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design”. Providence: Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design,1985.