Archaeological Museum of Bologna

Museo Civico Archeologico
Via dell'Archiginnasio 2 - 40124 Bologna

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Via de' Musei 8 – 40124 Bologna
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Collections / Ricerca / Etruscan Bologna

The origin of stone sculpture

During the 7th century, Bologna became a big early urban centre, a place where the emerging aristocracy expressed its status by acquiring objects of particular prestige. The materials used in this period were influenced by a taste imbued by oriental elements that came to the Po Valley via Tyrrhenian Etruria.
New artistic languages developed, attributable to the arrival of foreign craftsmen drawn by the wealth of local aristocracies. Their work contributed to changing local art, initially geometrical, to figurative with the inclusion of motifs from the Orientalizing repertoire (sphinxes, tree of life, palmettes, monkeys, lions, griffons …).
This period is known as Orientalizing phase (720 – 580 BC).

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Sandstone sculpture is definitely the type of artistic production that testifies to the rooting of Orientalizing culture in Bologna and in the Po Valley overall. There are about forty examples datable from the late 8th to the early decades of the 6th century BC. Most sculptures come from Bolognese burial grounds; the others were found in small settlements around the territory.

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Exhibition rooms | Room X - Etruscan Bologna