Page images
PDF
EPUB

(3) Figures and reliefs are made from moulds. Most of the smaller objects in terracotta are made in this way. The original model was first prepared in wax or clay. From this a mould was

[graphic][graphic][subsumed][merged small]

taken by squeezing clay on the model. This mould was baked and copies could then be readily taken from it. As may be seen on the many moulds exhibited (cf. fig. 50), in most cases the front of the figure is alone moulded. The irregular edges of the mould show that it was seldom prepared to fit to an opposite piece, as is necessary for casting a figure in the round. The simpler plan was usually adopted of pressing the clay into the mould and roughly finishing the back by hand. After the cast was removed from the mould finer details, such as the eyes, hair, etc., were often touched by hand to give increased precision. In the reliefs the same method may be followed of using a mould, or occasionally the slab of clay may be cut out and worked by hand.

[graphic]

The arrangement on both left and right proceeds in historical order, beginning with the Eastern door by which we enter.

On the left side of the room, in Cases 1-24, are displayed terracottas found in Cyprus, Greece, and in ancient Greek colonies. On the right side of the room, in Cases 25-48, are terracottas which have been found in Italy and Sardinia, but chiefly on sites where Greek influence had prevailed.

The first block 1-8 contains terracottas of the archaic and early periods, namely :

Case 1. Terracottas of the Mycenaean or Aegean period, from Enkomi in Cyprus (cf. p. 129) and elsewhere. These are rude and highly conventional renderings of the nude human form (fig. 51).

Fig. 51. Primitive Terracotta.

Cases 2-4. Terracottas from Cyprus. Some of these are in the Cypriote style, which is partly Phoenician and partly local, but the later specimens are purely Greek. Among the Cypriote examples are fragments of drapery from a large figure, painted with figures and patterns imitating embroidery, also small figures wearing elaborate imitations of jewellery.

Cases 5, 6. Figures derived from the early cemeteries of Cameiros in Rhodes. Many specimens are votive figures of deities. With these are a few grotesque subjects and others taken from life.

Case 7. A series of archaic reliefs from Melos includes :-
B 362. Eos or Aurora carrying Cephalos in her arms.

B 363. Thetis, the sea-goddess, seized by Peleus. The lion represents one of the transformations by which the goddess sought to evade her suitor. By a convention accepted in archaic art, moments properly consecutive are shown as if simultaneous.

B 364. Bellerophon on Pegasus (?) attacking the Lycian Chimaera. The horse of Bellerophon must be Pegasus, although no attempt is made to express the wings, partly because of the difficulty of adjusting them to the composition, and partly because of the close parallelism between this group and the following

B 365. Perseus riding away on horseback with the head of the Gorgon Medusa, freshly decapitated. From the neck issues Chrysaor, a monster who sprang simultaneously with Pegasus from the body of Medusa. Pegasus is not shown.

B 374. Scylla, with the dogs' heads springing from her waist.

B 367. A man grasping a lyre, on which a woman is playing ; perhaps the poets Alcaeus and Sappho.

Case 8. Archaic figures, mainly of deities from Greece and Asia Minor.

The central division (Cases 9-16) on the left side of the room contains Greek terracottas of the fine period, especially from Tanagra, a small town of Boeotia, and from Eretria, in the island of Euboea. (Plate XVIII.) The objects in this block may be assigned generally to the fourth century.

It would be an error to seek for any deep religious or symbolic meaning in this group of dainty and attractive figures. With the exception of Eros, Seilenos, and the like, definite mythical or legendary persons are seldom represented. We have rather the characters of daily life. Sometimes they are generalised and idealised, as with the graceful and charming but in respect of their intention) slightly monotonous figures of standing maidens. Sometimes, on the other hand, we have representations of daily life, in which the peculiarities of the subject are enforced with spirited humour. Compare (C 279) the old nurse and child, the recently-acquired companion figure of a nurse standing with an infant, and (C216) the old woman scratching her chin.

The third division (Cases 17-24) on the left side of the room

contains later Greek statuettes from various Greek sites, especially in Asia Minor. Among them may be noted :

Case 17. C 529. A pleasing group of two women, seated together on a couch conversing.

Case 18. C 406. Satyr playing with young Dionysos, and holding up a bunch of grapes, perhaps intended as a caricature of the Hermes of Praxiteles.

In this division are also :

Case 20. A series of heads, of fourth century and third century types, from Asia Minor.

Case 21. Terracottas of a late period from Naucratis (p. 15) and the Nile delta, mainly votive or grotesque. A young Satyr, holding out a bunch of grapes to the boy Dionysos, may be compared with the example of the same subject mentioned above.

Cases 22-24. Statuettes of the period of decline, from Thapsus, Cyrenè, and Teucheira in North Africa. The graceful draperies and

[graphic][merged small]

playful motives of the terracottas of an earlier period still survive, but the work is rougher, the colouring is more careless, and sometimes the heads and bodies (which were separately moulded and stuck together) are ludicrously disproportioned.

On the opposite (or North) side of the room the arrangement is in like manner chronological, beginning near the East door with Case 48.

The first division (Cases 48-41) contains terracottas of an architectural character, mainly from Italian sites. It includes :

Architectural fragments from Cervetri and Civita Lavinia (fig. 52).

A series of large terracottas, with Gorgons' heads and other subjects, which served as antefixes; that is, to mask the ends of tile ridges on a roof. They were found at Capua.

In the middle of the room, turned towards the division of the archaic terracottas, is (B 630) a large terracotta sarcophagus* (Plate XIX.) found at Cervetri, of the archaic period. A grotesque pair, a man and woman, recline on the cover. The woman is draped, and wears thin embroidered stockings beneath her sandals. The four sides of the chest are decorated with subjects in low relief. Front side: A battle between two warriors, who cannot be named. On each side are two women and a man. At the angles are youthful winged figures, probably the souls of the warriors, the soul of the wounded man being perhaps represented as bounding off to Hades. The lion which takes part in the combat reminds us of the lions which sometimes take part in battles of gods and giants, but it is hard to explain its presence in this combat. Rear side: A man and woman recline at a banquet, as on the lid above, attended by two cupbearers and two musicians. At each end is the furniture of the banquet, consisting of vases, wreaths, mirrors, and keys. The caldron on a high stand closely resembles the vase from Falerii, in the Italic Room, Case 1. At one end is a scene of leave-taking by warriors, and at the other are two pairs of mourning women.

The Etruscan inscription has not been interpreted, and some critics have questioned the authenticity both of the inscription and of the sarcophagus, since it is clear that the two cannot be separated. For these doubts, however, there are no valid grounds.

In the next standard case is an attempted reconstruction of a wooden building at Civita Lavinia (Lanuvium) faced with painted terracotta. Parts of one side and of a gable-end are shown. Water-colour sketches show the supposed treatment of the angle and the general form of the building. Fragments of other architectural terracottas are also in this case.

The table-case contains in its upper part fragments of terracotta reliefs from Locri (South Italy), in delicate archaic style. The subjects appear to be connected with the rape of Persephone and the making of offerings to the infernal deities.

A series of ancient moulds for terracotta figures, from Tarentum. Plaster casts, taken from each mould, are exhibited beside the originals. The series can hardly be older than the fourth century.

Cases 40-33. The central division contains terracottas from Tarentum, Capua, and other Italian sites, from the archaic to the Graeco-Roman period.

Cases 32-25. The last division on the right contains terracottas of the later Greek and Graeco-Roman periods, often noticeable for their bright colours and extravagant decoration.

Case 31. Four figures ma : be noticed in pink drapery, all of which have been produced from the same mould ; but the heads have been posed, and the arms attached, in different attitudes.

* Sec Terracotta Sarcophagi, Greek and Etruscan, in the British Muscum by A. S. Murray, folio, 1818 (28s.).

In the middle of the room, facing towards the third division, is (D 786) the sarcophagus of a lady, named in the inscription ' Seianti Thanunia, wife Tlesna'; within is a skeleton, no doubt that of the lady; and on the cover reclines her effigy, gazing into a mirror which lies within its open case. Her earrings are painted to imitate amber set in gold, and some of the six rings on her left hand appear: as if set with sards. Suspended from the walls of her tomb were vases and other objects of silver and silver gilt, including a mirror and strigil, which, however, were only of the nature of sepulchral furniture. The date is fixed, by coins discovered in a companion sarcophagus now at Florence, about the first half of the second century B.C. From Chiusi.

Two upright cases, also in the middle of the room, contain some large terracotta statues. These are part of a series which were found together in a dry well near the Porta Latina at Rome, about 1765, and were mended and restored by the sculptor Nollekens. For other examples see Cases 89, 90 in the South Wing of the Room of Greek and Roman Life. At the ends of the cases are large vases, floridly decorated with accessory figures of terracotta.

THE ROOM OF GREEK AND ROMAN

LIFE (SOUTH WING). SUBJECT :-TERRACOTTAS AND MISCELLANEOUS

ANTIQUITIES.

The South Wing of the Room of Greek and Roman Life must be regarded as a continuation of the Room of Terracottas, its wallcases being mainly devoted to decorative terracotta reliefs. The table-cases contain miscellaneous antiquities.

Cases 69-88. A series of terracotta slabs, with moulded reliefs, used for the decoration of walls of houses. In most of the panels are holes made in the soft clay for the nails with which the reliefs were fixed. The methods of production were substantially those already described in the introduction to the Terracotta Room. The date assigned is the close of the Roman Republic, and beginning of the empire, as may be inferred from the fact that some of these panels were found at Pompeii. In several cases also they have the names of Roman artists, e.g., in Case 70 of Marcus Antonius Epaphras (D 626).

The subjects are in part purely conventional and decorative; in part mythological; in part derived from life. The following are worthy of note :

Case 69. View of a colonnade, with a Bacchic term (such as

« PreviousContinue »