Etruscan Museum "Claudio Faina" Introductory Guide

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THE MUSEUM Useful information for the visitor The museum you are about to see is organized on two floors - the piano nobile or main first floor, and the second floor of the Palazzo Faina. The collection was assembled by Count Mauro Faina and by his nephew Count Eugenio and was presented to the City of Orvieto in 1954 by the latter's son, Claudio. The Foundation for the Museo "C. Faina" was created in 1957 to safeguard and promote the collection, one of the most important in Italy. The successive phases in the formation of the collection and the criteria adopted are documented on the piano nobile where you now are, while on the upper floor the material is presented according to type and chronology, in observance of the exhibition criteria of the nineteenth century. The itinerary begins with a presentation of the figure of Mauro, the founder of the collection, and follows with that of his nephew Eugenio Faina, who made several changes in the policies adopted. The coin collection in particular documents the activity of Mauro, who was especially interested in numismatics. The finds from the necropolis of Crocifisso del Tufo, on the other hand, bear witness to the preferences of Eugenio, whose attentions centered on materials from Orvieto. The rest of the collection, subdivided into classes according to material and arranged chronologically is installed on the second floor. Please note that the museum personnel will be happy to supply you with additional information.


THE FAINA COLLECTION A nineteenth-century archaeological colled The beginnings of the collection go back to 1864, with Count Mauro Faina and Count Eugenio. When it eventually passed to Eugenio's son, Claudio, the collection was kept together and opened to the public. According to tradition the original nucleus of the collection consisted of 34 vases given to Count Mauro by the Princess Maria Valentini nee Bonaparte, daughter of Lucien Bonaparte - who discovered the necropolis of Vulci - and niece of Napoleon. Mauro Faina occupied himself with the collection until his death in 1868 when it was inherited by his brother Claudio and entrusted to the latter's son Eugenio. The collection, initially housed in the family palazzo in Perugia; was transferred to Orvieto to the rooms it currently occupies. Eugenio changed his uncle's policy of buying antiquities on the art market and turned his attention to die finds which were coming to light in the necropolises of Orvieto around the 1870s and 1880s. As the collection became more important, it began to attract the attention of the scientific world. The first printed catalogue came out in 1888, edited by Domenico Cardella.


THE FORMATION OF THE COIN CABINET A passion for numismatics Mauro Faina was interested above all in ancient coins, as witnessed by the rapidity with which he succeeded in forming a coin cabinet of considerable note. In May of 1867 the collection consisted of "1800 catalogued coins, without counting duplicates" which had risen to 3000 by July of the following year. The particular attention dedicated to the coin cabinet is evident from the separation of the entry acquisitions of coins in a promemoria of expenses, to be found in the archives of the Faina Foundation. Mauro estimated that he had spent L.1400 for the coin cabinet out of an all-over expenditure of L.8,288 between December 1, 1864 and May 15, 1867. From May 1867 to September 1868 he invested L. 2,835 in coins, while his overall expenditures were L. 7,665. These figures would seem to indicate a progressive shifting of his interests towards numismatics, while, to judge from the sums invested, excavation activity, for which only L. 15 was spent, was practically abandoned. The qualitative level of the coins collected and the care devoted to the numerous lists indicate that Mauro's knowledge of the field was anything but superficial. The provenance of his coins, acquired on the antique market, is unfortunately unknown.


ITALIAN COLLECTING IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY The myth of the antique The beginnings of the Faina collection date back to the decades subsequent to the unification of Italy (1861), when laws regarding the safeguarding of the archaeological heritage had not yet been formulated. The Pacca Edict, still valid in the areas that had formerly belonged to the Papal States, Orvieto included, was respected only with regard to a few procedural norms, but was negated in essence when recognition of the public value of the archaeological patrimony was interpreted as an intolerable limitation of private property which contrasted, with the ideology of the new liberal Italy. These decades witnessed a proliferation of private and public collections, the latter prevalently municipal in character. For the private individual, collecting was a form of investment, a reaffirmation of a cultural superiority that found itself challenged by the advent of new scientific methods, a quest for an exclusive aesthetic appreciation and an attempt to take refuge in a world - the world of antiquity - that was apparently free from conflicting ideas. For the towns, collecting objects of antiquity meant rediscovering and therefore affirming their individual identity as a way of defending their cultural and political significance, ill the face of the centralism that characterized the policies of the national government. Aesthetic criteria, with an occasional concession singularity of function or form, governed the selections made by collectors: local organizations selected on a wider basis, with criteria that tended to privilege craft activity as such. In their installation, the private collections were still influenced by eighteenth-century


precedents, characterized by a rigid division according to type and a clear-cut separation of materials: civic museums on the other hand accumulated material without any apparent order and the choice was, to a certain extent, dictated by a chronic lack of space and funds, with occasional exceptions.


MAURO FAINA "He enjoyed life and cared not for death" Count Mauro's interest in collecting owes much to his frequent visits to the villa of Laviano, near Chiusi, owned by the Princess Maria Valentini nĂŠe Bonaparte. The ambiance of Chiusi, contacts with scholars of antiquity in Perugia, his familiarity with the princess, daughter of the "archaeologist" Lucien Bonaparte, his relations with the Paolozzi family, themselves important collectors, were all elements that led to the birth of his passion for archaeology. In December of 1864 he began excavating, investigating the territories of Chiusi, Perugia, Todi, Orvieto and Bolsena. He was looking above all for tombs, thought of as "containers" for finds of great artistic value which could enrich his collection. The results were not up to expectation: "I closed my second excavation campaign, I spent a lot and found little; it will be my ruin but the museum grows-thanks to boughten material" as Mauro noted. In his acquisitions, preference went to material brought to light in the territories of Chiusi, Perugia, Orvieto, Todi, San Venanzo, Florence and, generically, the Maremma. Among the few sellers expressly mentioned we find Maria Bonaparte, and a few collectors of Chiusi: Paolozzi, Fanelli, Giulietti.


THE COLLECTED FINDS "I have gotten together a charming little museum" Mauro Faina did not limit his collecting to coins. In January of 1865 he wrote to Ariodante Fabretti, historian and eminent archaeologist, that he had gotten together "a charming little museum with 300 pieces, some of them outstanding." The collection continued to grow in the following years, with finds acquired on the antique market or found in the rather unfortunate excavations he carried out personally. It must be noted that most of the finds in the collection in this first phase were not from the area of Orvieto, to which they are, however, often tied as a result of subsequent events. In June July of 1868, Mauro Faina drew up the first inventory, listing 2106 finds (excluding the coin collection). The antiquities, housed in the family palazzo in Perugia, were subdivided into low. rooms: "dei buccari", "dei bronzi", "dei vasi dipinti", and "degli Idoli�. A glance at the inventory reveals that the rooms of the "buccari" and of the "Idols" were fairly homogeneous, while the other two contained material that different in type, chronology and area of production. The collection grew rapidly thanks to the considerable sums invested. While Mauro's collection as a whole cannot currently be reconstructed, some of his acquisition can be identified.


EUGENIO FAINA Senator and archaeologist When Mauro died, Eugenio inherited the collection and made notable contributions to the policies employed thanks to his superior cultural background and a greater awareness of just how archaeological research should be carried out. An initial change in trend is indicated by the transference of the collection from Perugia to Orvieto. A second change is represented by the decision to buy solely material from Orvieto, well aware of the importance of keeping objects in their historical context, and in a more specific sense, of respecting the material context furnished by the accompanying funeral furnishings. These suggestions most probably came from his contacts with Gian Francesco Gamurrini and Adolfo Cozza, two important Italian archaeologists of the time. The latter was from Orvieto, and the two became close friends. An inventory lists the archaeological objects collected by 1881, which numbered about 3156. This can be compared to the 1868 inventory listing 2106 pieces of antiquity. After that date, in part because of his political activity, the count stopped buying antiquities and was one of the promoters of the Museo Civico Archeologico of Orvieto. He was also responsible for the publication of the first printed catalogue of the collection, edited by Domenico Cardella (1888).


THE FIRST ACQUISITIONS The advice of Gian Francesco Gamurrini In portraying the figure of Eugenio Faina, mention has been made of his friendship with Adolfo Cozza and his acquaintance with Gian Francesco Gamurrini, one of the most important Italian archaeologists of the time and who long held the post of Commissario dei Musei e degli Scavi dell'Etruria e dell'Umbria. And it was G.F. Gamurrini who suggested buying a series of vases found in the Orvieto necropolis of Crocifisso del Tufo. The archives of the Faina Foundation contain a document, unfortunately incomplete, with the description of twelve vases (the one with the other eighteen has been lost), of which the acquisition is recommended. Eleven of them are of Attic production, while only one is of Etruscan make. They are on exhibit in this room. This purchase marks a change in trend in the acquisition policies of the collection, which would be enriched, under E. Faina, mostly by objects found in the territory of Orvieto.


ARCHAEOLOGY IN ORVIETO IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY Merchants and archaeologists The transference of the Faina collection from Perugia to Orvieto took place more or less at the same time that systematic and successful excavation campaigns around Orvieto were begun. These attracted the attention of the archaeological world and of the antique market to ancient Velzna, while the plunder of the territories of the bordering territories of Vulci and Chiusi was drawing to a close. Previous finds had not succeeded in furnishing a clear picture of the city's distant past, still very hazy in the first edition (1848) of the invaluable book by George Dennis, The Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria. The fortunate discovery (1863) of two painted tombs in locality Poggio Roccolo near Settecamini (later called Golini I and II after their discoverer) marked the beginning of investigations centered above all on the necropolises of Crocifisso del Tufo and Cannicella. Excavations were carried out with techniques that were questionable even at the time Gustav Korte complained about the absence of "drawings and exact information, taken in the course of excavation, regarding the contents of the individual tombs", while Gian Francesco Gamurrini condemned the excavators, stating that their principal aim was "to sound the tombs to see if they still contained objects of antiquity which might be worth something". Eugenio Faina, Honorary Inspector of Monuments and Excavations, attempted to stem the dispersion of the local archaeological patrimony by choosing, at first, to acquire only materials from the area of Orvieto, and then committing himself to the inslininim of a Museo Civico


Archeologico (1879). To him also goes the merit for the promotion of scientifically conducted excavation compaigns.


THE COLLECTION AS DESCRIBED BY GUSTAV Kร RTE The archaeologist's eye In 1877 an important essay, Sulla necropoli di Orvieto, by Gustav Kรถrte appeared in the Annali dell'Instituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica. This article is useful in reconstructing the characteristics of the Faina collection around the end of the 1870s. G. Kรถrte's article tells us that Eugenio Faina "decided to acquire the objects one after the other from Mancini's excavations" in the necropolis of Crocifisso del Tufo so he could form "a local museum of the greatest importance" - where "everyone can carry out a general study of these monuments which are inseparable from the site of their discovery, a study which becomes impossible when, as is usually the case; the objects are scattered here and there by trade". Material that came to the collection from Crocifisso del Tufo included "over a hundred painted vases", "a few vases of a int ich cruder technique which unquestionably conic from a local Etruscan workshop", 83 buccheri, diverse "objects in bronze" and some "objects in gold, silver and precious stones". On the basis of the information furnished by the German scholar the furnishings of a tomb can be reconstructed. Included were "two black-figured amphorae in the usual rigid style", a generic description which makes further identification impossible, a cup attributed to the Clinic Painter, another cup by the Colmar Painter, a pseudoscarab dating to the early 5th century B.C., which derives from the manner of the Dionysos Master of Boston, the handle of an olpe, decorated with a Silenus mask, and finally a "lamina with impressed palmettes."


THE MUSEUM DESCRIBED BY DOMENICO CARDELLA "To leave Orvieto without having seen the Museo Faina is disgraceful" The first guide to the Faina collection was published in 1888, by Domenico Cardella "professor in the secondary schools of Orvieto". This little book is precious for it describes the state of the museum at the end of the nineteenth century and furnishes indications, such as provenance and location, for the objects on exhibit, which would otherwise have been lost. The museum was located on the second floor of the Palazzo Faina and occupied six rooms. Visiting it depended on the generosity of the owners. The vestibule contained heterogeneous finds including canopic jars, cippi, cinerary urns in terra cotta, common, silvered, black glaze pottery. Then came the coin cabinet with its approximately 3000 pieces. The third room, known as "of the bronzes", contained the mass of Etruscan and Roman bronzes collected by the Faina family. Prehistoric finds were also on exhibit here. The fourth room, known as "of the cups", was dedicated above all to Attic kylixes. In the next room, known as "of the buccheri", was the series of buccheri "most of which from Chiusi", the city where Mauro Faina had made his first acquisitions. The visit ended in the room "of the large painted vases", where the masterpieces of the collection were on view.


EXEKIAS A great artist Exekias was one of the finest Attic vase painters and his work as painter falls into the third quarter of the 6th century B.C. (550-525) while he probably worked as a potter far longer. For the first time he raised the art of vase painting close to that of a major art. As a potter he was responsible for the early development of the Type A cup and of the Type A belly amphora with an unbroken silhouette (one of these big vases is over 60 centimeters high) and the calyx crater. Mention must also be made of the cups potted for other masters to decorate (Little Master painters). His style as painter is marked by an almost statuesque dignity: the human figure takes its rightful place in Attic painting. Few of his mythological scenes follow established patterns - to the contrary, they set new trends. The Faina collection has three amphorae attributed to the artist. They were found in the necropolis of Crocilisso del Tufo, situated at the base of the cliff. Their presence in Velzna (=Orvieto) is an indication of the level of prosperity the city-state had achieved in the second half of the 6th century B.C.


PREHISTORIC AND PROTOHISTORIC FINDS Before the Etruscans The objects on exhibit in this room offer a panorama of the materials in the collection which come from preEtruscan times. Few of them have any indication of the context in which they were found, and it is therefore more difficult to place them in a chronological and historical setting. A nucleus of finds ranging from the Eneolithic period to the Early Bronze Age has however been identified, as well as another relating to later protohistory (Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age). There seems to be no irrefutable evidence dating to intermediate periods (Middle and Late Bronze Age). Representative objects of the first group are a flask shaped vase, two daggers, a few bronze axes and, apparently, a rich series of leaf-shaped flint arrowheads. The later nucleus includes finds in pottery and various pieces in bronze (fibulas, pins with scroll and wheelshaped heads, lunate razors with a continuous curved back, flanged and 'cannon' adzes, spearheads, javelin heads and arrowheads). The find sites are unknown but typological comparisons suggest the Orvieto countryside, the territory of Chiusi and other hinterland areas on the left banks of the Tiber. It seems likely that the pottery and most of the bronzes came from burial sites, for they are well preserved. The adzes may come from a storage cache in view of the types, the chronology and the state of preservation. The spearheads and arrowheads are more difficult to place.


BUCCHERO The black color is due to... Wheel-thrown pottery is typical of the Etruscan world in an ample range of time, from the 7th to the 5th century B.C. The name bucchero derives from the Spanish bucaro, a term used for a particular type of ware that came from South America and was thought to be similar. The black color is the result of a reducing atmosphere in the kiln, where the ferric oxide in the clay is transformed into ferrous oxide. The beginning of this production can be dated to the first quarter of the 7th century (700-675 B.C.) characterized by pieces with particularly thin walls often embellished with an impressed decoration or with graffito and known as bucchero sottile. The most active centers of production were Cerveteri, Veio and Tarquinia. Between the end of the 7th and the first half of the 6th century B.C., bucchero is found throughout the region controlled by the Etruscans and it was widely exported in the Mediterranean as far as southern Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, the coasts of France and Spain, Carthage, Greece, Rhodes, Cyprus and Syria. In the same period, workshops flourished in centralnorthern Etruria: of note those of Chiusi, in which the socalled bucchero pesante was produced, characterized by thick walls and a particularly rich plastic decoration. At the beginning of the 5th century B.C., the quality began to decline: the insufficiently purified clay turned gray when fired (bucchero grigio). Bucchero was gradually replaced by black glaze pottery.


ATTIC BLACK-FIGURE POTTERY Artists and craftsmen Much of the Attic pottery that has come down to us was found in Italy: consequently these vases were not immediately recognized as documents of Attic art and crafts, and until the Rapporto intorno ai vasi volcenti (1831) by Eduard Gerhard they were thought to be of Etruscan make, except by J.J. Winckelmann and L. Lanzi. At the end of the nineteenth century scholars began to study the attribution of unsigned pots; merit in any case for having put order into the entire production goes to John Davidson Beazley (1885-1970). About a dozen names of Athenian painters are known for certain, but Beazley has identified about four hundred artists and groups. Their names are conventional and may have been inspired by the name of the potter or painter, by the inventory number of a pot considered a key piece in the production of the artist, by the collector, the stylistic peculiarities, or still other elements. Progress in the studies has turned Attic pottery into an invaluable element for dating within an archaeological context. The works we admire today in the museums were made by craftsmen who worked prevalently within a specific district - the potters' quarter or Kerameikos - in Athens, and responded to the demands of the market. Some workshops even imitated pot shapes native to Etruria in their attempt to satisfy the tastes of clients in that region (workshop of Nikosthenes).


ATTIC BLACK-FIGURE POTTERY The great period of vase painters in Athens The black-figure technique of vase painting was invented in Corinth around 700 B.C. The figure was painted in a full black silhouette and the internal details were incised so that the lighter colored clay showed through. Retouching in white or purple was possible. Around 630 B.C., Attic vase painters were beginning to use this technique for the most important -figures, extending it, at the end of the century, to secondary elements and filling ornament. This was the beginning of the great period of Attic black-figure pottery, which was successful for such a long time and won the Mediterranean markets. Initially the production seems to have been addressed prevalently to the requirements of Attica, but between 575 and 550 B.C. exports already outnumbered the requests of the local clients. The most important market was Tyrrhenian Etruria, including the city-state of Vulci. Painters who worked in this period were the `Siang cup' painters, Kleitias (whose name appears on the famous Francois Vase, found in Chiusi), Nearchos and the Tyrrhenian group decorators. Between 550 and 525 B.C. a fourth of the production found its way to Italy. This period is characterized by Lydos, the Amasis Painter, the so-called Little Masters and, above all, Exekias, an outstanding master. The last decades of the 6th century B.C. witnessed the introduction of the red-figure technique, but many craftsmen continued to use the traditional technique which was still popular with non-Athenian clients. Among those who continued the tradition mention may be made of Lysippides, the Antimenes Painter and the Leagros Group painters.


Artists who used both techniques are also known, such as for example the Andokides Painter. In the period 500475 B.C. the black-figure production was still in demand but the quality fell off - sign of a profound crisis - and little by little it disappeared.


ATTIC RED-FIGURE POTTERY A new technique The black figure continued in use among the Athenian potters for quite some time. Its decline did not however mean the end of vase painting, for around 530 B.C. a new type of vase decoration was being experimented with in Athens. The procedure was the opposite of that used in black figure: the figures and decorative motifs were left in the color of the clay, while the rest of the surface of the pot was painted black. The internal details were drawn in lines of paint. This new manner was an immediate success in Athens, but took longer to catch on in the other markets. The first artist to use red-figure painting was the Andokides Painter (active between 530 and 515 B.C.), with Psiax and Paseas also playing an important role in the experimental phase. They preceded the Pioneers Group, within which the new technique was almost exclusively used and preference was given to large pots. The members of the group signed their works, identified the figures in the scenes depicted, adding witty mottoes with regards to other painters. The founder of the school seems to have been Euphronios, while Smikros, Euthymides, I Iypsis and others also belonged to the group. The cup, not a favorite shape with Andokides or the Pioneers, was however extremely widespread from the very beginning and some painters specialized in its decoration: mention can be made of Oltos, Epiktetos, Skythes.


ATTIC RED-FIGURE POTTER New masterpieces Activity in the Athenian workshops was not affected negatively by the Persian Wars and in the first twenty-five years of the 5th century B.C. productivity increased considerably. Red-figure pottery won foreign markets, above all Etruria, with the area of the Po Valley particularly receptive. The most important vase painters of the period were the Kleophrades Painter and the Berlin Painter, the two greatest red-figure artists: "the painter of power and the painter of grace," in the words of J.D. Beazley. The cup was a particularly popular shape (between 500 and 490 B.C. half of the production consisted of cups): among the decorators mention can be made of Onesimos, the Brygos Painter, Douris and Makron. In the second quarter of the century the Athenian workshops increased their activity to a new high: comparison with the activity of wall painters such as Polygnotus of Thasos and Mikon served as stimulus in preserving a high qualitative level even in the face of a considerable increase in production. The markets at home and in the Po Valley and Sicily were the most open. Of the vase painters of the period, mention can be made of Hermonax, a pupil of the Berlin Painter. After 450 B.C. the production dropped, but the quality remained high. The home market absorbed a considerable part, while difficulties arose in the export trade, in particular towards Tyrrhenian Etruria. The final decades of the century witnessed a real crisis, first in quantity, and then in quality. The following century was marked by a limited production and then, near the end, the red-figure technique went out of fashion.


ETRUSCAN BRONZES A production of great quality In the second half of the 5th century B.C., two Attic poets, Critias and Pherecrates, praised Etruscan bronzework: the former said he wished all domestic ware were of Etruscan make, the latter praised, in particular, the lamps. Confirmation of the quality of these products comes from their area of distribution, archaeologically attested to, which goes beyond "national" borders, and from the large statues, of which various outstanding masterpieces have come down to us, such as the "Mars of Todi" showing a warrior (ca. 400 B.C.), the Chimaera (400-350 B.C.) found in Arezzo, and the "Orator" or Arringatore (generally dated around 80 B.C.). While on the subject, it might be recalled that the philosopher and politician Metrodorus of Chios, defined a fervent anti-Roman by Pliny, stated that the conquest of the city of Velzna (=Orvieto), near which the Fanum Voltumnae (federal sanctuary of the Etruscans) was located, yielded plunder to the tune of 2000 statues to the conquerors. The use of bronze was widespread in Etruria where it was used for large and small votive sculpture, as well as for objects of particular prestige such as the parade chariots, arms, "tableware" used in aristocratic banquets, utensils and other things. The production techniques mirrored those developed in the Bronze Age in central Europe and those developed in the Greek world; in Etruria the encounter of these two technological trends led to a considerable increase in knowledge in the field of metallurgy.


ETRUSCAN FIGURED POTTERY In imitation of the Greeks Vase painting was only occasionally used in central Italy at the end of the 9th century B.C. A leap in quality appeared in the following century as a result of the increasingly frequent contacts with the Greek world where, after the crisis of the Mycenaean civilization, a complex and articulated tradition of pottery painted with geometrical motifs had developed. The importation of these products was at the basis of the development of "Etruscan-Geometric" pottery. The most important centers of production seem to have been Veio, Vulci, with Bisenzio gravitating in its sphere of influence, and to a lesser extent, Tarquinia. Geometric art did not stop suddenly, but continued up to and beyond the middle of the 7th century B.C., with the production called subgeometric, much of which came from the workshops of Cerveteri, and in which the Euboean-Cycladic stylistic components appear side by side with others of protoCorinthian derivation. The gradual appearance of narrative scenes marks a change in the taste of the clients who were better acquainted with the Greek myths. The subsequent Etrusco-Corinthian production (630-540 B.C.) developed thanks to the influence of imported proto-Corinthian and Corinthian pots and the presence of immigrated artists, such as the Painter of the Bearded Sphinx. The epicenter of the new production was Vulci. In 580 B.C., the workshops began to produce more but the quality fell off, as suggested by the complementary Cycles, of the Olpai and the Rosoni. A further striking limitation in the range of shapes and decorations noted in the last decades of the Etrusco-Corinthian prod (560-540 B.C.).


The introduction of the black figure technique breathed new life into the tradition and was accompanied by great interest in the new trends that appeared in the Eastern Greek area and in Athens. Vulci continued to be the most active center, where the Micali Painter, considered the most prolific, also worked. Attic red-figure pottery became popular with the Etruscan clientele above all between .500 and 470 B.C., but its repercussions on the activities of local workshops was limited and delayed. Numerous vase painters preferred obtaining a red-figure effect by painting on top of the black glaze surface of the vase. In the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. the privileged centers of production were Vulci, Cerveteri, Orvieto, Chiusi and Volterra. From the beginning of the 3rd century B.C. on, figured pottery gradually gave way to a more standardized production, such as, for example, black glaze pottery.


ETRUSCAN FIGURED POTTERY IN THE FAINA COLLECTION "The good councilors and appraisers of antique objects" The Faina Museum contains an interesting selection of Etruscan figured pottery. Most of the vases come from the excavations carried out by R. Mancini in the Orvieto necropolis of Crocifisso del Tufo. For those whose provenance is unknown, proposing Orvieto as the find site can be no more than a working hypothesis, since Mauro Faina, who began the collection, bought and excavated in various areas of Etruria. The indications of "good councilors and appraisers of antique objects" permitted the members of the Faina family to limit the acquisition of forgeries as much' as possible (a great many were produced in the second half of the nineteenth century), but various vases have considerable nineteenth-century restoration work and have been heavily repainted. A few pieces of particular historical and/or artistic value are mentioned here: • an amphora to be assigned to the "white on red ware" class, made perhaps in the area of Vulci towards the end of the 7th century B.C. • the examples attributed to the Micah Painter and his circle, whose workshop can be localized in Vulci and who was active in the last quarter of the 6th century B.C. • the two amphorae and the stamnos of the so-called Orvieto Group, whose principal characteristic is the brick red paint of the figures. The tendency in the past had been to interpret this as a defect in the firing of the red color, but now it seems more likely that it was intentionally done so as to imitate Attic red-figure pottery. The group, of which more than sixty examples exist, was


produced in Velzna (=Orvieto), a center where the first attempts at imitating the new Athenian technique seem to have been attempted. • lastly mention must be made of the pelike attributed to the Sommavilla Painter (375-350 B.C.), the vases that can be ascribed to the Funnel Group and two kelebai which may be from Perugia. • particular attention should be given to the Vanth Group.


THE VANTH GROUP Orvieto pottery of the 4th century B.C. The name Vanth group is used for a series of pots produced in Velzna (=Orvieto) in the last two decades of the 4th century B.C. The name comes from a female divinity of the Etruscan Netherworld, shown on two pieces. Vanth is depicted as a winged female figure, often with one or two serpents wrapped around her arms. Among her most frequent attributes are the torch, keys, a mantle and a scroll, partially unrolled, on which the name of the goddess may be indicated. At present it seems likely that the vases came from an Orvietan workshop, influenced by the production of Vulci and of Falerii, and that they represent the final phase of the activity of local potters particularly skilled in the redfigure technique, which had a long tradition in Orvieto. The stylistic characteristics of the group include figures drawn with a thick line, the widespread use of retouching in white and diluted paint, so as to "evoke a dense smoky atmosphere, in keeping with the particular natura loci (nature of the place) in which the figures are called upon to move". The scene of the arrival of the deceased in the Netherworld seems to have been a favorite of the painter, who tends, whether consciously or not, to transform the monstrous into caricature. The vases of the group in the Faina Collection come from the surroundings of Orvieto, but not even G. Kรถrte knew precisely where.


“The fascination of a collection lies just as much in what it reveals as in what it conceals of the secret urge that led to its creation.� Italo Calvino, Collezioni di Sabbia


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