A Taste of Terracottas of the Roman Late Republic Period

I have traveled to many countries and been fortunate to view antiquities collections in a great many museums, large and small. Of all the many subcategories of ancient art, there are few I find more appealing than the large scale terracotta sculpture of the later Roman Republic, continuing just into the early Augustan age. It’s lifelike qualities and often almost fully human scale owe much to earlier Etruscan terracotta work but its ethereal, moody qualities are unique. It’s such a pity that more has not survived.

I am traveling this weekend but for the enjoyment of my readers I would like to share a few select examples. Enjoy!

Antiquities, Roman art, ancient Rome, Roman Republic, Clio Ancient Art and Antiquities

Terracotta statue of a girl, about half life size, perhaps a Muse, 1st Century BC to early 1st Century AD, uncovered at Porta Latina in Rome during the 18th Century. British Museum, London.
Photo Credit: Clio Ancient Art and Antiquities

British Museum, Roman antiquities, Roman terracotta, Roman Republic, Augustan art, Clio Ancient Art and Antiquities

One of a group of 8 half life sized terracotta figurines found near Porta Latina, Rome in 1767. Unusually well preserved, this figure of a girl probably represents one of the Muses, as does the previous image. The statues seem to have been privately owned in antiquity and may have decorated a garden. These late Republic or the early Augustan era. Now in The British Museum, London.
Photo Credit: Clio Ancient Art and Antiquities

Roman antiquities, Roman art, Roman Republic, Augustan art, British Museum, Clio Ancient Art

Terracotta architectural relief of Victory sacrificing a bull. Roman Italy, late Republican or early Augustan. In the British Museum, London. Photo Credit: Clio Ancient Art and Antiquities

Greek mythology, Roman art, Roman antiquities, British Museum, Clio Ancient Art

Terracotta relief plaque of the 1st Century BC or early 1st Century AD, depicting a scene from Greek mythology, with Theseus, watched by his mother Aithra, lifting a great rock to reveal tokens hidden beneath it. The story goes that these were left secretly by his real father Aigeus, King of Athens, with orders that when he was old enough he could lift the rock, retrieve the tokens and a sword, and travel to Athens to meet his father. Note the holes in the margins for mounting the plaque to a wall. Now in the British Museum, London. Photo Cfedit: Clio Ancient Art and Antiquities

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