Arte etrusca

Second half of Fifth century BC


Solid-cast bronze, 9.5 x 5.4cm

This bronze shows the figure of a young, nude warrior in an attacking pose (Hoplite). The defensive armour includes an Attic helmet with cheek pieces and a tall crest of feathers that hangs down the back. The retracted left arm brandished a sword whilst the extended right supported a shield, traces of which remain in the handle gripped in the right fist. 

The emphatic dynamism of this statue was innovative in the context of fifth century BC small-scale Etruscan sculpture that was mostly still dominated by frontal positions. Its subject was inspired by the Greek sculptures that decorated the façade of the Temple of Aphaia, dedicated to the eponymous goddess on the island of Aegina. Amongst other Etruscan bronzes, a direct comparison can be made between this Estense bronze and the statue from the Etruscan city of Populonia (now in the National Archaeological Museum of Florence). The story of the Greek hero Aiace, captured at the moment of his suicide, inspired the iconographic theme of the wounded warrior at the moment of his death, which this bronze also recalls (G. Ricther).

Like the preceding exemplars (inv. 12014; 12505; 12016) this bronze was part of the Tommaso Obizzi collections that were left by inheritance to the Este Dukes. Joining their collections in 1805, it eventually entered the national collections at the Galleria Estense di Modena after the Unification of Italy