Carrara putto
Collections OnlineGregorian Etruscan MuseumRoom III

Carrara putto

Tarquinia
end 4th-3rd cent. BC
hollow-cast bronze
Height cm 32.7
cat. 12108

The statue, that was originally fixed on a pedestal to which it was attached by a bed of lead, is missing its left arm and two of the fingers of the right hand, the latter broken in ancient times. It has an incomplete inscription on its arm mentioning a votive offering to the god Silvanus. The statue forms part of the category of ex-votos portraying youths, crouching or seated, in the act of making an offering to the divinity, just like others from the ancient Etruscan shrines of lake Trasimeno, of Vulci and of Cerveteri. The appearance of our youth with a mature face has led to the supposition that this portrayed the mythical Tagetes, the young soothsayer with the wisdom of an old man who, precisely in Tarquinia, having miraculously appeared from ground that had been ploughed too deeply, was the first to dictate to the principes Etruriae the Etruscan discipline, that is the foundation of the Etruscan religion, later codified in sacred books.