Fun Fact Friday

Friday Fun Fact: the Etruscans and Metalwork

All this month I’ve been talking about the ancient civilization of the Etruscans.  They are my favorite ancient civilizations and existed between the Greek and Roman periods.  One of the things that makes the Etruscans so fascinating to me is their impact in the art world.  They were especially known for their metalwork.  

On the series that I watched on Great Courses called The Mysterious Etruscans, Professor Steven Tuck described the different types of metal decorative and finishing techniques that the ancient Etruscans used.  These included: flat chasing (low relief designs), stamping (decorative stamps hammered into the metal), engraving (fine tools to draw on metal), repousse (embossed work hammered from the back), inlaying (wire laid in recesses then heated to fuse), and goldleaf/gilding (metal foil or a mercury gold solution).

Gold Earring Stud: This earring from the Archaic period combines repoussé and granulation with glass beads and intricate, patterned designs, c. 530–480 BCE. Image care of Lumen Learning (click to visit source website).

One of the main techniques that was considered far advanced was granulation.  Granulation is where a piece is decorated with small spheres of precious metal then fused down to a metal base.  The picture to the left shows an example of the beautiful metalwork accomplished by an Etruscan artist.

Also, Here is a great video that I found that demonstrates the granulation process that the Etruscan would have used. 

As a quick note – I was able to access the Great Courses series free through my local library.  I highly recommend looking into all the great in-house and online resources your library may have.  You might be surprised with the great information, films, music that you can have access to!

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