An Inquiry into the Forgery of the Etruscan Terracotta Warriors in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

An Inquiry into the Forgery of the Etruscan Terracotta Warriors in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

An Inquiry into the Forgery of the Etruscan Terracotta Warriors in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

An Inquiry into the Forgery of the Etruscan Terracotta Warriors in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Excerpt

The three terracotta sculptures of Etruscan warriors, acquired in 1915, 1916, and 1921, were first placed on exhibition in 1933 and briefly announced in the Museum's Bulletin. Four years later they were fully published by Gisela M. A. Richter, then Curator of Greek and Roman Art, in the Metropolitan Museum "Papers." Spectacular finds of such importance for the history of an early civilization aroused suspicions forthwith, and questions about the statues' authenticity began to be raised. Massimo Pallottino, for instance, condemned the sculptures as forgeries in Roma of December 1937 and repeated his charges in 1954. For years such denunciations of the warriors continued, but reports of their modern origin were based on suspicion or hearsay. Despite continued inquiries both in this country and in Europe by members of the Museum's staff and administration, no concrete proof of the various allegations was forthcoming. Several distinguished scholars continued to believe that the warriors had been made in ancient Etruria.

It was not until recently that Joseph V. Noble, Operating Administrator of the Museum, was able to apply the data he had obtained on the technique of Attic vase painting to the technical problems of the manufacture of the warriors and related pieces. His studies provided the first technical evidence of their having been made in modern times. This evidence was completely corroborated on January 5, 1961, when Alfredo Adolfo Fioravanti of Rome signed a sworn statement to the effect that he had participated in the construction of certain terracotta statues in the archaic Etruscan style that were in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Dietrich von Bothmer, Curator of Greek and Roman Art since 1959, had been studying the statues and was sent to see Mr. Fioravanti without delay. On February 14, the Museum issued the following statement . . .

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