Statue of Aulus Meltius (reproduction)

Statue from the Royal Archaeological Museum of Florence, 1904. 21-249

This is a copy of a bronze portrait statue of the Etruscan orator Aule Metele. In this plaster copy, Aule is missing an arm, which can be seen broken off and resting between his legs. Aulus’ broken arm would have been outstretched, addressing a crowd, a common gesture for an orator. The original statue features an Etruscan inscription on the hem of his cloak with his name, Aule Metele.  While the origination of the art of portraiture is often attributed to the Romans, the Etruscans were in fact the first ancient Italians to shift from making general, to specific, representations in portraits. Plaster casts like this one were popular in the 20th century, and made it possible for ancient works to be studied at universities all over Europe and the US.


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