Etruscan style

Quick Reference

In C18, widespread archaeological activity associated with Neo-Classicism (e.g. at Herculaneum and Pompeii) led to many collections being made of black and red vases then thought to be Etruscan (but many were actually Greek), and greatly admired for their elegance, shape, decorations, and, not least, for the priapic and ithyphallic aspects of many of the figures. The vases were widely illustrated, notably by Francesco Bartoli (fl. 1706–30), the Comte de Caylus (1692–1765), and Bernard de Montfaucon (1655–1741). In particular de Caylus's Recueil d'antiquités égyptiennes, étrusques, grecques, romaines et gauloises (Collection of Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek, Roman, and Gaulish Antiquities—1752–67) had an enormous influence on the development of Neo-Classicism and on the evolution of the Egyptian and Greek Revivals as well as the creation of the Etruscan style of interior decoration, involving the use of much red, black, and white, with griffins, harpies, lions, sphinxes, medallions, festoons, bellflowers, tripods, urns, chimeras, and very light, delicate details derived from Antique sources and Renaissance grotesque ornament. The C18 Etruscan style first emerged in France in the reign of Louis Seize, and was used by Robert Adam for the Etruscan Room, Osterley House, Middlesex (1775). By then, what was known as the style étrusque owed much to Pompeii and Herculaneum, with some Greek influences: the actual Etruscan influence was tenuous.

Chilvers, Osborne, & Farr (eds.) (1988);Lewis & Darley (1986);Jane Turner (1996)

Subjects: Art — Architecture.

Reference entries