WTF Art History

For everyone interested in art history who has asked, WTF?

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  1. Chimera of Arezzo

    Behold one of the great masterpieces of sculpture from Etruscan Italy (ca. 400 B.C.) and a true piece of WTF Art History!

    The Chimaera of Arezzo, Etruscan, about 400 B.C., bronze. Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana  Museo Archeologico Nazionale, FirenzeThe Chimaera of Arezzo, Etruscan, about 400 B.C., bronze. Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana — Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Firenze

    The Chimera of Arezzo was a legendary creature that breathed fire and took the form of a lion’s body, with a serpent tail, and a goat’s head (or at times upper torso and head) as an appendage.  In one myth, Bellerophon — the greatest hero before Hercules — slays the beast, who had ravaged its homeland of Lycia.  If you look closely at the sculpture, the goat is bleeding from its neck, possibly alluding to a blow by a spear from a lost bronze sculpture of Bellerophon.  When The Chimera of Arezzo was discovered in 1553, the tail was missing.  The creature remained tail-less until 1785, when the sculptor Francesco Carradori (or his teacher, Innocenzo Spinazzi) created a replacement, incorrectly positioning the serpent to bite the goat’s horn (Giorgio Vasari noted that a portion of the tail had been found during his lifetime).

    The Chimaera of Arezzo, Etruscan, about 400 B.C., bronze. Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana  Museo Archeologico Nazionale, FirenzeThe Chimaera of Arezzo, Etruscan, about 400 B.C., bronze. Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana — Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Firenze

    One of my favorite details is the inscription on the front right limb: TINSCVIL, indicating that the bronze was a votive object dedicated to the supreme Etruscan god of day, Tin or Tinia.

    The Chimaera of Arezzo, Etruscan, about 400 B.C., bronze. Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana  Museo Archeologico Nazionale, FirenzeThe Chimaera of Arezzo, Etruscan, about 400 B.C., bronze. Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana — Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Firenze

    If you can’t make it to the National Archeological Museum in Florence, one of the best resources available for viewing the Chimera in the round can be found on the Getty’s website.  In 2009/2010 the museum hosted the ancient sculpture in a small, focus exhibition that brought together vases and gems depicting the myth of Bellerophon and the Chimera, printed books that documented the sculpture’s long history, and even illuminated manuscripts to show the legacy of the myth in Medieval Europe (through the story of Saint George and the dragon).  Check out the site and discover more about this WTF masterpiece of art.

     
     
    1. technounion reblogged this from wtfarthistory
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    6. theredshoes reblogged this from wtfarthistory and added:
      I don’t know about you all, but ‘a true piece of WTF Art History!’ gets a reblog from me.
    7. stuffannalikes reblogged this from wtfarthistory and added:
      I LOVE Etruscan art.
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