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Jewellry and GlypticsNorthern Black Sea CoastAncient RomeAncient ItalyAncient Greece

The culture and art of ancient Italy are represented by numerous items from various regions of pre-Roman Italy, the most interesting being objects from Etruria and Greater Greece.

The collection of Etruscan objects covers the period from the 8th to 6th centuries BC. Distinctly original Etruscan ceramics known as baccheri were made of smoked clay with smooth, clean forms and shiny polished surfaces, and decorated with relief and engraving. Vases with mythological subjects and images of animals created under the influence of Greek traditions of the Archaic (6th century BC) and Classical (5th-4th centuries BC) periods are of great significance. The Etruscans excelled in the technique of working bronze, as is demonstrated by a variety of works - mirrors, candelabra, statuettes of gods and heroes - and the bronze tripodal censer (6th century BC) found at Vulci, with scenes depicting the labours of Hercules, the lion's head (5th century BC), and the cinerary urn in the form of a reclining youth (4th century BC) are considered true masterpieces. The prototypes of Etruscan portrait sculpture are the clay votive heads - lids of vessels in the form of a man's head.

In ancient times the area south of the Apennine peninsula and the eastern coast of Sicily populated by Greek settlers in the 7th century BC were called Greater Greece. This region is represented in the museum by ceramics, the art of which reached its zenith in the 7th century BC; the most typical items are red-figure vases from Lucania. The ceramics produced in Campagna provide us with an idea of the ancient theatre, for very often local craftsmen depicted scenes from tragedies on their vases. Apulian ceramics are represented by monumental volute-craters in the 'sumptuous' style which were used as tombstones. Mythological scenes are depicted on the front of the craters' body, and scenes showing the worship of the dead on the back. Among the masterpieces of this collection is a superb black-lacquered hydria (4th century BC) found in the town of Cumae and devoted to the underground gods and deities of fertility.

If you enjoyed this collection, you might want to also visit the other collections at the State Hermitage Museum.

Ancient Coins

Reclining Youth
Cinerary Urn
Full description

Lion's Head
Full description

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