Necropoli dei Monterozzi
Painting: Tomb of the Leopards
|Location||Tarquinia, Lazio, Italy|
|Founded||7th century BC|
|Management||Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell'Etruria Meridionale|
|Website||Museum and Necropolis of Tarquinia and Cerveteri|
|Official name||Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia|
|Criteria||i, iii, iv|
|Designated||2004 (28th session)|
|Region||Europe and North America|
The Monterozzi necropolis (Italian : Necropoli dei Monterozzi) is an Etruscan necropolis on a hill east of Tarquinia in Lazio, Italy. The necropolis has about 6,000 graves, the oldest of which dates to the 7th century BC. About 200 of the gravestones are decorated with frescos.
The painted tombs of the necropolis are the largest documentation of Etruscan pictorial art, and they are singular testaments to Etruscans' quotidian life, ceremonies, and mythology.Some of the tombs are monumental, cut in rock and topped by tumuli, accessible by means of inclined corridors or stairways. Many different subjects are shown in the frescos, including rituals, animals, magical themes, dance and musical instruments. The best known tombs are the Tomb of the Leopards, of Hunting and Fishing, of the Augurs, of the Triclinium, the Blue Demons and of the Bulls.
Many of the artifacts found in the necropolis and some of the frescos have been brought to the neighboring Tarquinia National Museum in order to preserve them.The paintings and wall decorations of the Tomb of the Baron, discovered in 1827, were also reproduced on the walls of the so-called Etruscan Cabinet in the Castle of Racconigi.
Along with the Banditaccia Necropolis, Monterozzi was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, notable as "the depiction of daily life in the frescoed tombs, many of which are replicas of Etruscan houses, is a unique testimony to this vanished culture".
The burial ground dates from the Iron Age, or Villanovan period (9th century BC), up to Roman times. From the Villanovan period simple round tombs carved from rock for cremation burials can be seen at the site.
Towards the end of the 8th c. BC, the first funerary chambers appeared as family tombs due to the rise to power of an aristocracy. These appeared on the surface as tumuli, sometimes assuming impressive proportions to enhance the power and prestige of the nobles, as can be seen especially in the so-called King and Queen tombs. There were about 600 tumuli still visible in the 19th century, following which many were razed after excavation.
The tumuli usually covered subterranean chambers carved into the rock, containing sarcophagi and personal possessions of the deceased, and many of which have wall paintings.
The earliest sarcophagi are carved with the image of the deceased supine on the lid. The later and more numerous types show him or her reclining on the left side, facing the spectator and frequently holding a libation vessel; occasionally a man displays an inscribed scroll listing his ancestry and the magisterial offices he occupied. During the second half of the 4th century BC sculpted and painted sarcophagi of nenfro, marble and alabaster came into use. They were deposited on rock-carved benches or against the walls in the now very large underground chambers.
Sarcophagi were also decorated with reliefs of symbolic or mythological content, often derived from Tarentine models. Sarcophagi of this type, which continue until the second century, are found in such numbers at Tarquinia that they must have been manufactured locally. The walls of the tomb-chambers of the late period are painted with underworld demons escorting the dead on their journey to the beyond, scenes in the nether world, processions of magistrates and other symbols of the rank of the eminent members of the families buried there.
Among the most notable painted tombs famous for the artistic quality of their frescoes are:
The Etruscan civilization was a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany, western Umbria, northern Lazio, with offshoots also to the north in the Po Valley, in the current Emilia-Romagna, south-eastern Lombardy and southern Veneto, and to the south, in some areas of Campania.
Tarquinia, formerly Corneto, is an old city in the province of Viterbo, Lazio, Italy known chiefly for its ancient Etruscan tombs in the widespread necropoleis or cemeteries which it overlies, for which it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.
Cerveteri is a town and comune of northern Lazio in the region of the Metropolitan City of Rome. Known by the ancient Romans as Caere, and previously by the Etruscans as Caisra or Cisra, and as Agylla by the Greeks, its modern name derives from Caere Vetus used in the 13th century to distinguish it from Caere Novum.
The Villanovan culture, regarded as the oldest phase of Etruscan civilization, was the earliest Iron Age culture of Central Italy and Northern Italy. It directly followed the Bronze Age Proto-Villanovan culture which branched off from the Urnfield culture of Central Europe. This gave way in the 7th century BC to an increasingly orientalizing culture influenced by Greek traders and colonists who settled in South Italy.
Vulci or Volci was a rich and important Etruscan city.
Bucchero is a class of ceramics produced in central Italy by the region's pre-Roman Etruscan population. This Italian word is derived from the Latin poculum, a drinking-vessel, perhaps through the Spanish búcaro, or the Portuguese púcaro.
The Fanum Voltumnae was the chief sanctuary of the Etruscans; fanum means a sacred place, a much broader notion than a single temple. Numerous sources refer to a league of the "Twelve Peoples" (lucumonies) of Etruria, formed for religious purposes but evidently having some political functions. The Etruscan league of twelve city-states met annually at the Fanum, located in a place chosen as omphalos, the geographical and spiritual centre of the whole Etruscan nation. Each spring political and religious leaders from the cities would meet to discuss military campaigns and civic affairs and pray to their common gods. Chief amongst these was Voltumna, possibly state god of the Etruria.
Etruscan art was produced by the Etruscan civilization in central Italy between the 10th and 1st centuries BC. From around 750 BC it was heavily influenced by Greek art, which was imported by the Etruscans, but always retained distinct characteristics. Particularly strong in this tradition were figurative sculpture in terracotta, wall-painting and metalworking especially in bronze. Jewellery and engraved gems of high quality were produced.
A false door is an artistic representation of a door which does not function like a real door. They can be carved in a wall or painted on it. They are a common architectural element in the tombs of ancient Egypt, but appeared possibly earlier in some Pre-Nuragic Sardinian tombs. Later they also occur in Etruscan tombs and in the time of ancient Rome they were used in the interiors of both houses and tombs.
Norchia is an ancient Etruscan city with an adjacent necropolis, near Vetralla in Italy. The site is along the Via Clodia, and is not far from the more well known Etruscan town of Tarquinia.
The Tomb of the Whipping is an Etruscan tomb in the Necropolis of Monterozzi near Tarquinia, Italy. It is dated to approximately 490 BC and named after a fresco of two men who flog a woman in an erotic context. The tomb was discovered and excavated in 1960 by Carlo Maurilio Lerici. Most of the paintings are badly damaged.
The Tomb of the Leopards 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. The painting is one of the best-preserved murals of Tarquinia, and is known for "its lively coloring, and its animated depictions rich with gestures."
The Tomb of the Bulls is an Etruscan tomb in the Necropolis of Monterozzi near Tarquinia, Italy. It was discovered in 1892 and has been dated back to either 540–530 BC or 530–520 BC. According to an inscription Arath Spuriana apparently commissioned the construction of the tomb. It is named after the two bulls which appear on one of its frescoes. It is the earliest example of a tomb with complex frescoes in the necropolis.
The Tomb of Hunting and Fishing, formerly known as the Tomb of the Hunter, is an Etruscan tomb in the Necropolis of Monterozzi near Tarquinia, Italy. It was discovered in 1873 and has been dated variously to about 530–520 BC, 520 BC, 510 BC or 510–500 BC. Stephan Steingräber calls it "unquestionably one of the most beautiful and original of the Tarquinian tombs from the Late Archaic period." R. Ross Holloway emphasizes the reduction of humans to small figures in a large natural environment. There were no precedents for this in Ancient Greek art or in the Etruscan art it influenced. It was a major development in the history of ancient painting.
The Tomb of the Triclinium or the Funereal Bed is an Etruscan tomb in the Necropolis of Monterozzi near Tarquinia, Italy. It was discovered in 1830. Stefan Steingraber, Associate Professor at the Italian Research University 'Roma Tre', dates the tomb to approximately 470 BC and calls it one of the most famous of all Etruscan tombs. He considers the artistic quality of the tomb's frescoes to be superior to those of most other Etruscan tombs. The tomb is named after the triclinium, the formal dining room which appears in the frescoes of the tomb.
The Tarquinia National Museum is an archaeological museum dedicated to the Etruscan civilization in Tarquinia, Italy. Its collection consists primarily of the artifacts which were excavated from the Necropolis of Monterozzi to the east of the city. It is housed in the Palazzo Vitelleschi.
The Tomb of the Blue Demons is an Etruscan tomb in the Necropolis of Monterozzi near Tarquinia, Italy. It was discovered in 1985. The tomb is named after the blue and black-skinned demons which appear in an underworld scene on the right wall. The tomb has been dated to the end of the fifth century BC.
The Tomb of the Augurs is an Etruscan burial chamber so called for by a misinterpretation of one of the fresco figures on the right wall thought to be a Roman priest known as an augur. The tomb is located within the Necropolis of Monterozzi and dates to around 530-520 BC. This tomb is one of the first tombs in Tarquinia to have figural decoration on all four walls of its main or only chamber. The wall decoration was frescoed between 530-520 BC by an Ionian Greek painter, perhaps from Phocaea, whose style was associated with that of the Northern Ionic workers active in Elmali. This tomb is also the first time a theme not of mythology, but instead depictions of funerary rites and funerary games are seen.
Etruscan architecture was created between about 900 BC and 27 BC, when the expanding civilization of ancient Rome finally absorbed Etruscan civilization. The Etruscans were considerable builders in stone, wood and other materials of temples, houses, tombs and city walls, as well as bridges and roads. The only structures remaining in quantity in anything like their original condition are tombs and walls, but through archaeology and other sources we have a good deal of information on what once existed.
Carved amber bow of a fibula, also known as the Morgan Amber, is a 5th-century BCE Etruscan fibula by an unknown artist. It is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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